Before Midnight

Before Midnight ★★★★★

Where 'Sunrise' displayed young people filling space with ideas and 'Sunset' showed how nine years later, regret is oft on the mind; 'Before Midnight' gives us two people who are no longer looking for experiences. They've had them and that's what's on their mind. It's tragic, hilarious, and all just a bit too real. And I loved every minute.

Like picking up with two old friends, Linklater drops us once again in on the lives of Jessie (Hawke) and Celine (Delpy). What is truly to marvel is that's all it feels like. We are sneaking a peak at two connected humans at a crucial point in their relationship. There's no burgeoning effort to fill anyone in who hasn't seen the previous movies. No need to veer away into forced drama. It's a day and night in the life. As it should be, remaining a deft examination of generational growth, maturity, and sexual progression.

These are the same two characters we've fallen in love with. It's fascinating how true they've been able to remain over 20 sum-odd years and still grow and mature right in front of our eyes.

The evolution of the series' form continues rightfully so, as the shape of things changes with the introduction of new characters and new stories. But never did it feel out of place amongst its predecessors. Where 'Midnight' succeeds most is in the last ten minutes of the film. We've already laughed. I had already cried. It comes to a point where a character must make a decision. And there is absolutely no doubt that everyone in the audience wanted the same thing and was gripping their seats at the thought that this could end otherwise.

The performances go beyond acting. These two actors lived these roles in what is by far the most beautifully shot movie of the series. As far as emotional journeys, investments, and experiences go, this is by far my favorite movie of the year.

What a beautiful ending to an amazing story.


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