For the third time in almost 20 years, audiences are privy to a day in the life of Celine (Julie Delpy) and Jesse (Ethan Hawke). First brought to our attention in 1995's 'Before Sunrise', then again in 2004's 'Before Sunset', 'Before Midnight' completes the trilogy with the brilliant nuances of it predecessors, and so much more in a way that only time, deep emotional investment and maturity can bring.
18 years after they first met and eight years after they reconnected, Celine and Jesse are vacationing in Greece with new friends at the home of one of Jesse's literary idols. With their twin daughters in tow, Jesse is suffering from the emotional ramifications of once again putting his 14-year-old son on a plane back home to America. Over the course of a drive from the airport, a lively adult dinner, a stroll through the village, sunset drinks at a cafe and an evening in a hotel room, this couple brought together through fate and held together through love discuss the lives they've built with each other in the past, present and future with unexpected, sometimes funny but always complicated outcomes.
As these characters mature, so has the series' audience. No longer drifting young adults, Jesse and Celine are now in their early 40s, they have a family and a life together, and all of their past actions, both good and bad, have brought them to this moment, and we the audience now bare witness to where they stand. Subtly filling in the blanks of unanswered questions raised throughout the gaps in each installment, Jesse and Celine never shy away from the rough roads, pains and ambiguous moments that have ruled their journey.
The superb working and onscreen relationship between our leads Delpy and Hawke is indescribable. They have that once-in-a-lifetime chemistry that filmmakers can only dream of and moviegoers envy. The dialogue that once again Delpy, Hawke and Director Richard Linklater have penned is both highly intelligent and exquisite. With laugh-out-loud moments, subtle yet gasp-inducing revelations and truths that only fellow couples can understand, 'Before Midnight' does not disappoint in its sincerity, warmth and self-referential treatment. These two characters have been embodied and perfected by these actors to such a degree that's it's almost implausible (and borderline heartbreaking) to know that they're in fact not real.
Fans will rejoice over the final chapter and newcomers will convert; it was well and truly worth the 18 year wait.
'Before Midnight' is playing at the Sydney Film Festival on Saturday 8th June at 9:30pm. Click here for more reviews on the 2013 Sydney Film Festival.