Monday, 27 January 2014

MATTERS OF THE HEART: Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy explore life and longing in Richard Linklater's Before Midnight

YOU AND ME: Delpy and Hawke portray lovers at a crossroads in the sparkling film.

"If we're going to know one another, we have to know ourselves first," muses Ethan Hawke's Jesse in Before Midnight, the fresh, smart and endlessly amusing third film in the Richard Linklater-directed series, and the follow-up to Before Sunrise and Before Sunset. It's a line that perfectly sums up the mood of this beautifully written and evocatively filmed story, which came in for a delightful screening last Friday at the Liguanea Club's Movie Night in New Kingston.

A Best Adapted Screenplay nominee at the upcoming Oscars, Before Midnight finds Jesse and Celine in their early 40s living together in Paris but paying a visit to the picturesque Southern Peloponnese on holiday. At the moment he is a bestselling author while she is eyeing an ambitious career move.

They have two kids, and as the movie opens, Jesse is at the airport sending off his teenage son from his previous marriage back to Chicago. The parting obviously weighs on him, and in a series of pitch-perfect conversations, including a showdown in the hotel suite, Jesse and Celine banter and bicker about their roles as partners and parents. It's thrilling, heady stuff.

Before Midnight is striking not only for its naturalism in handling its themes but for the quiet ambition of its style. What's more, the script (co-written by Linklater, Hawke and Delpy) is laden with crisp, fast-flying dialogue, which helps to make the film a solid romantic comedy-drama that follows a pair of consummate artists grappling with the vicissitudes of living and what we are ultimately all striving for: true happiness. Tyrone's Verdict: A

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