Anyone who’s been married for any length of time should be able to enjoy Richard Linklater’s “Before Midnight,” if squirming in your seat can be considered a form of enjoyment.
The third in a trilogy that began with “Before Sunrise” (1995) and continued with “Before Sunset’ (2004), this film picks up with the same two characters: Jesse (Ethan Hawke) and Celine (Julie Delpy). They’re married now, with twin girls; he divorced the wife he had in the second installment. He’s a successful author, she’s still trying to be an environmental activist and they’re just finishing a month-long sojourn on an island of Greece.
They put his son – visiting from Chicago – on a plane home, then deposit their girls with friends and take off for a night on their own, a kind of mini-honeymoon. But, as with all married couples, each of them has certain triggers that the other unerringly finds ways of touching off. The main one: His guilt at not spending more time with his son because Jesse lives in Paris, versus Celine’s refusal to even consider the possibility of moving to Chicago.
That’s the film’s final half-hour: a wonderfully chatty, tense marital spat whose waves each surfs cautiously, not wanting to succumb to the undertow.
This review continues on my website.