Before Midnight

Before Midnight ★★★★½

Remove the group conversation in outdoor Kalamata and one would find very few moments of the happily connected Jesse and Celine in this film.

Linklater's third film is stripped to a scarily confronting, harshly tough and honestly truthful work that's on-par with its predecessors.

This time the adorable glossiness is gone and romance takes its hardest beating yet. Celine thinks about her future and misses a once spontaneous life. Jesse wants to have a more consistent presence in his son's teenage years. Celine's got a refusal to leave Paris and move to Chicago.

But don't misunderstand, because before the often-talked-about extended hotel sequence, there are glimpses of the couple as they lovingly are. Conversations about how these two will feel around each other in 56 years, or the "still there..." sunset are undeniably enriching to my senses.

Hawke and Delpy's performances show their strongest chemistry yet (they're also credited as writers), and alongside director/writer Linklater, they have penned a marvelous screenplay. The mood is angry, hostile and full of frustration; however keeping intact what made the first two film's both charming and incredibly human.

An absolutely great film.

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