Universal acclaim - based on 41 Critics What's this?

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Universal acclaim- based on 313 Ratings

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Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 40 out of 41
  2. Negative: 0 out of 41
  1. Reviewed by: Mick LaSalle
    Jun 23, 2013
    The latest in the wonderful "Before" series does three important things: It breaks out of the courtship formula, yet retains the series' quality, and it moves the lives of Celine (Julie Delpy) and Jesse (Ethan Hawke) forward in ways that are satisfying and believable. True, a romance you once envied might now be a relationship you'd not want to be in, but as long as Celine and Jesse are still talking, there's hope.
  2. Reviewed by: Farran Smith Nehme
    May 23, 2013
    Making a movie this warm, funny, and rigorously truthful about lovers trying to remain partners is even harder.
  3. Reviewed by: William Goss
    Feb 26, 2013
    Before Midnight manages to be an emotionally astute and tremendously enjoyable conclusion to this rather improbable trilogy.
  4. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    Jun 6, 2013
    If the first two films belong with the greatest (if talkiest) movie romances of all time, the new film is richer, riskier, and more bleakly perceptive about what it takes for love to endure (or not) over the long haul.
  5. Reviewed by: Bob Mondello
    May 23, 2013
    Delpy and Hawke have never been more persuasive. Nor has the series.
  6. Reviewed by: Claudia Puig
    May 23, 2013
    Bittersweet, intelligently written, deftly acted and painfully honest.
  7. Reviewed by: Dave Calhoun
    Jun 21, 2013
    Luckily, Hawke and Delpy remain as charming as ever, and their combined goofiness is more endearing than annoying. Winning, too, is the sense that this peculiar project, though imperfect, could grow old with its audience and its cast.

See all 41 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 44 out of 58
  2. Negative: 11 out of 58
  1. Sep 10, 2013
    Starting with Before Sunrise in 1995, the Before Trilogy has been the perfect anti blockbuster saga that depicts the lives of two people who just happen to find each other sitting on a train heading to Vienna. What follows that initial meeting is nothing short of magical. Jesse (Ethan Hawke) and his wife Celeste (Julie Delpy) and their twin girls are vacationing at a writers retreat in Greece and for their last night they have been treated to a night exploring a small Greek town together, one that highlights each of their insecurities, hopes, dreams and inner most thoughts, thoughts that could bring this epic romance to an end. Before Midnight seems like an apt conclusion to this revelatory series as it is not only the best of the bunch but it's surely one of the best films of the year. The film doesn't shy away from the fears and relationship problems that hit people in their forties as they re-examine their lives. Midnight is the darkest of the three films but that only adds to the experience as the film exhibits a wealth of emotion established over three days of these peoples lives. A cracking romp, it's funny, intelligent and never once leaves you questioning what time it is. Even for someone unclear of Jesse and Celeste's history, Before Midnight is a detailed and personal film written by people who love these characters and want as many other people to do so too. The main reason its works as a film is because it involves you in a persons life that almost everyone can relate to in some way or another as Jesse comments on social dynamics and Celeste complains about the vulgarity of men you can associate with them in a way few films manage. As the film draws to a close the film leads into an anti-establishment climax as these characters shift and respond to things in a beautiful and painfully real way. While everything comes crashing down for these two you might see something you didn't want to see in yourself or you might glance upon the films ending and feel a glimmer of hope for these two and maybe by extension yourself. Expand
  2. Jun 14, 2013
    Before Midnight is, of course, the third (and not necessarily final) film in Richard Linklater, Ethan Hawke, and Julie Delpy's winsome, organic, intimate series that follows the stories of lovers Jesse and Celine. The film picks up nine years after the ambiguous ending of Before Sunset and well, you're not interested in the plot. Jesse and Celine are together, of course, because how could the film exist otherwise?

    And what, really, can I say? Was there any doubt that I would gush about this film before I even set eyes on its beautiful opening shot: a throwaway close-up of Ethan Hawke's Jesse and his son, Hank's, shoes? Call me a biased reviewer. Maybe I'm doing it wrong by allowing this film to be the third act of a singular, indivisible story. The truth is, it was going to take a disaster of tremendous proportions for me to not love this film. I can say with absolute certainty that such was not the case. As far as judgment rendered goes, there's a pretty simple rubric. Have you seen the first two films? If not, go see them now. There is absolutely zero reason to watch Midnight out of context, even if it does stand strong as an independent entity. Now, did you love the first two films? If not, you should probably kill yourself with robotic haste, so bleak is the world you must inhabit. If you've seen both Sunrise and Sunset and are still breathing, you will see this film. You will almost assuredly love it. Few things in the world are so simple and so certain.

    Instead, I'll waste everyone's time by drawing some fairly moot and humble and utterly small comparisons between the three films.

    Sunrise is the most unapologetically romantic film of the series, as is to be expected. Midnight ranks a close second, however, due to a level of passion and tenacity that was understated in Sunset. Where Sunrise basks in the warm afterglow of the fading day and the comfortable fabric of young love, and where Sunset is more about two individuals coming to terms with their own lives in relation to each other, Midnight is about the sundering chaos of a binary star system, two supergiants pulling and pushing on each other, bound in an endless dance of growth, destruction, and renewal. Midnight is by far the most intense of the three films; Sunrise is warm, Sunset is cool, and Midnight spans the daring gamut from lukewarm comfort into a nuclear firestorm. Sunrise is all about possibility, where these two people might ever go. Sunset is about evaluation, the strange and complicated states they're suspended in. Midnight is about both the past and the future, looking to both with remorse and hopefulness, and not with the intellectual and emotional curiosity of Sunset but with pinned resignation and patience and pity and an entirely different kind of hope.

    Before Midnight is a powerful film. In comparison (and by no means diminishing the potency of the other two films),Sunrise is a carefree frolic through the grass, Sunset is a careful dance of courtship between two experienced partners, and Midnight is a bare knuckle brawl of devastating emotional honesty that is only possible between two people who have known each other for so many years and therefore possess the arsenal to really hurt both their partners and themselves. It is the biggest film of the three in scope; it introduces what may almost amount to a supporting cast, and in the first act, I almost feared that the focus of the film had unraveled a bit. But by the halfway point, we have returned to the relationship at the core of this (so far) trilogy. But it also spans the largest portion of the emotional gamut; it doesn't deal as heavily in the ethereal idealism of the first film or the calculated sophistication of the second, but runs all the bases and spreads further outward and onward, exploring new emotions and histories and anything else that's ripe for the picking. Midnight is also the funniest of the three; with cruelty there is the merciful counterbalance of humor, made all the more wry and sharper by the irony and acridity that surrounds it.

    There is little else to say about what Midnight accomplishes without ruining the film. This is by far the most plot-dependent of the three films (though still not very), and there are emotional surprises to be had along the way. It is the most beautiful of the three films, especially in its opening act, and especially in a scene filmed at a group dinner that uses light so expertly and beautifully that it is numbing in its sheer visual skill.

    It is also the messiest of the films. Sunset remains the closest of the three to perfection. Sunrise had some of the unsteady hand of a young auteur, but Midnight sometimes strays by way of its own ambition, a quality that the first two, especially Sunrise were too cool to have. It lacks the almost calculated efficiency of Sunset but is a more daring film, one that renews my love of these two souls, one that has me counting the days until we may revisit their lives again
  3. Jun 4, 2013
    Maybe its the fact that I have grown with these characters, and maybe its because I am currently going through a divorce, but the biting dialogue about marriage, life, death, and parenthood cut through me from the opening scene in the airport to the closing scene on a dock. Breathtaking. A must see. Expand
  4. Dec 29, 2013
    If you want to watch a film about love, family, sex, and the complex differences between men and women then this is the film for you. The scene in the hotel room is priceless even though I think Celine is crazy. A- Expand
  5. Nov 3, 2013
    It is fun to watch and brave enough (6 long sequences!), but quite flawed. At times it feels that these two have never had a conversation before, given the themes and issues that they keep revisiting. Some parts seem too forced and artificial for such a mature (in time) relationship. It looks like someone felt that "someone has to be always talking or it will seem that there is no content! -even during the sunset scene!!!!-" (nothing further from the intention or the French films that give inspiration to Before Midnight, where natural conversations are as important as scene composition, space and silence) Great effort from the actors that must still be wondering "couldn't we just shut up and kiss?!" Expand
  6. Aug 2, 2013
    Well I don't know-I certainly hoped our beloved characters would have some better luck then to get stuck into dysfunctional relationship with fighting and arguing about just everything. Expand
  7. Nov 25, 2013
    I would not have attempted to watch this had I realized it was the third of a trilogy. Having not seen the first two, I am completely baffled by the high ratings this movie has. There is absolutely no plot. I can understand enjoying the movie if you're already invested in the characters from the previous tales and just want to spend more time with them, but this completely failed to make me like them, and therefore I didn't care about what they had to say (which is all that happens for the entire movie), so it ended up being a waste of my time. Expand

See all 58 User Reviews


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