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|Laufzeit:||Ca. 108 Min|
|FSK:||From 6 years|
In 1995 the up-and-coming director Richard Linklater travelled to Vienna together with the two actors Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy to shoot the small independent romance "Before Sunrise" with them for just 2.5 million dollars. The film, which tells of a fateful encounter between the American Jesse and the Frenchwoman Celine, was a real surprise not only for critics. Nevertheless, a continuation was not planned at first. It was not until nine years later that Linklater saw the time come to visit the popular couple again. In "Before Sunset" the audience witnessed a reunion of Jesse and Celine in Paris, which was just as successful as the first meeting of the two. Now, nine years later again, the story of the couple is told in a third film. "Before Midnight" remains true to the style of its predecessors. But after 18 years only little remains of the romance of the first meeting in Vienna.
Jesse (Ethan Hawke) and Celine (Julie Delpy) are still a couple and have two daughters together. Together with Jesse's son from his failed marriage, the small family spent an extended summer vacation in Greece. After Jesse has said goodbye to his son at the airport with a heavy heart, he, Celine and the girls have one day left before they have to travel home to Paris themselves. A day on which Jesse and Celine find out in long conversations and discussions that they have little in common with the two lovers who met on the train 18 years ago. And even before midnight, they have to confront themselves with the question of whether their great romantic love of yesteryear still exists at all.
This is probably familiar to everyone: something that still seems exciting, enchanting and lovable in the face of first infatuation and great romance can lose its charm over time, caused by everyday life and habit. Not only Jesse and Celine, but also the viewers of "Before Midnight" have to make this experience. Richard Linklater and his two leading actors have done an excellent job of bringing this feeling of lost romance and extinct passion to the screen. While Jesse used to hang his Celine on his lips with every word and found her way simply wonderful in Vienna back then, today he is simply annoyed by her endless flood of words. And while Celine was once completely bewitched by Jesse's poetic nature, today she finds it more patronizing and pretentious. Again and again small sparks of the blazing fire of that time flash up. However, real passion looks different.
As much as the actors, who also wrote or improvised the script together with Linklater, deserve to be credited for allowing the viewer a very realistic view of a once so great love far away from all Hollywood clichés, this is also the biggest problem of "Before Midnight". Who knows the first two films and has followed the romance between Jesse and Celine, for him this very consistent and unembellished sequel is certainly no less entertaining than the predecessors. Because here again there are some really wonderful moments and biting dialogues, which have been the attraction of this series since 1995. But anyone who meets the American writer and the French musician for the first time here could quickly be annoyed by the sometimes hysterical dialogues. Especially the big argument in the last third of the film is hard to bear even for the couple's fans due to its length and intensity. Newcomers, who have already been put to a hard test several times up to this scene anyway, should hardly be able to carry this part of the film along.
As I said, "Before Midnight" is a consequent continuation of the style and the story of the first two films. If you like these realistic relationship movies more than conflict-free Hollywood romances, you'll be looking forward to a reunion with Jesse and Celine in spite of some somewhat strenuous and trivial moments. But if you hope for a real feel-good movie with some kitsch and a lot of warmth, because of the picturesque scenery and the romantic movie poster, you could get your eyes wandering desperately from the screen to the exit after one hour at the latest. Therefore: only recommended for fans of the series and for lovers of dialogue-heavy actor cinema!
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