From the director of the previous two films and of the slacker classic Dazed and Confused, Richard Linklater, and the third instalment in his romantic drama franchise, Before Midnight picks up 9 years later with Jesse (Ethan Hawke) and Celine (Julie Delpy) on summer holiday in Greece. Almost two decades since their first meeting on that train bound for Vienna, is everything as perfect as they had hoped for after such a romantic meeting? Or has divorce, life, and growing up ruined what they thought was meant to be?
Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy are back for another long conversation about life, love, and the struggles of a relationship, as the couple are finally together. But is everything as sugar-coated in love hearts as you would expect from such a romantic premise of the first two films? Of course not; Linklater deals with real-life, and he isn’t sugar-coating anything.
Set in the beautiful city of Greece, the cinematography is once again beautiful as we get a short tour of some of its prettiest landscapes. Whilst there’s a lot of the same qualities as the film’s predecessors, there is the addition of a lot more whining and pessimism. In a way that gives the film a sense of realism, as things rarely ever work out the way you would hope, but it was far too negative to find fully engaging and Delpy’s character became too unlikeable to take any interest in. All I could think of was poor Jesse, what an annoying, moaning, and downright miserable woman he has ended up with. I guess it just went too far in its misery and forgot about the magic of romance that the first two films captured.