Before Midnight

Before Midnight ★★★

The final chapter of Linklater's "Before" trilogy moves to Greece, a country I know and love well. As in the first two installments, the location is far less important than the dialog, but there is an interesting juxtaposition between the brightness of vacationing in the Southern Peloponnese and the dark emotions that arise. It's almost a reversal of the first film, Before Sunrise , with its long dark night in Vienna when passion and love flare brightly.

Other shifts include the variety of characters whose voices are included in the first 60 minutes, adding a new dimension to the now 18-year-old dialog, and the physical aging so apparent in both the main characters, which adds maturity to the verbal exchanges, but not always in a good way. Have Jesse and Celine become jaded in the course of parenting? Have they traded their dreams for stability?

It's nice to have the hanging question of Before Sunset answered - Did Jesse catch his flight? But this film delves into a very different sort of intimacy or relationship ... knowing one's partner well enough to really hurt as well as love him/her. Frankly, I didn't much like viewing this matured relationship, but it's a well-made and well-acted film that could be seen separate from its predecessors.

NOTE: I did enjoy watching this trilogy over the course of about 28 hours and would heartily recommend back-to-back viewings as the best way to enjoy all three films.

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