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Film Review: Before Midnight
by Mary Nyiri

Before Midnight
Director: Richard Linklater
USA/Greece 2013

Jessie (Ethan Hawke) and Céline (Julie Delpy) met eighteen years ago on a train to Vienna. They spent the night together walking and talking throughout the film entitled Before Sunrise (1995). At sunrise, they parted on the train platform and planned to meet again, which they did in Before Sunset (2004). That time, they were in Paris and they spent the day discussing their unhappy relationships with the film ending on a bit of a pregnant pause – would they have a happy relationship together? Well, Before Midnight begins at the airport with Jessie saying goodbye to his teenage son. Then you see him and Céline with two sleeping children in the back seat of the car. They are staying with some friends in Greece who have given them a weekend in a hotel on their own. They walk to the hotel but have difficulty relaxing with one another in their room, so they walk around town, talking and talking. Personally, I found the discussions in this third film more exasperating and irritating than entertaining, but strangely enough, I just wanted to keep listening in on the conversation to learn how it all turned out. And, Jessie and Céline never stop to breathe so there is no place to stop listening! If you have followed Jessie and Céline from Vienna to Paris, you will want to accompany them to Greece and on to their next destination as well. They are simply entertaining.

Press Conference: Will there be a fourth film? Ethan Hawke would like to do a fully erotic film with Julie Delpy, but she resists. Or perhaps when she is 80!

How were the dialogues worked out, with the male and female perspective? Linklater thinks it’s just different perspectives, but not necessarily male or female. It is a total collaboration among the three of them. They have a couple of years to talk about things. They really trust one another and discuss what works and if it doesn’t, then it goes. Delpy has looked at her old journals and thinks that it is interesting to take a “seed of truth” and use it, based more on feelings or an essence, which “grows a tree of fiction, rooted in something true.” Linklater says that it feels improvised, but it is not. It is a lot of work

How much of each actor is in their character? Hawke explains that one of the joys of working with Rick is that you can blur the line between character and player so that it is almost indecipherable. He (Linklater) allows them to shape and structure the work. But they all agree that a large part of Jessie and Céline is Richard Linklater.

Trivia: Ethan Hawke met Julie Delpy for the first time for filming Before Sunrise.