DRAMA; 1hr 49min
STARRING: Ethan Hawke, Julie Delpy
Love? Actually? Hawke and Delpy
So here they are again, happy as they can reasonably be expected to be. Or are they? Eighteen years after their first meeting on a Vienna-bound train in director Richard Linklater’s Before Sunrise, Jesse (Hawke) and Celine (Delpy) are ready for the third instalment of their extended close-up. They’re a couple now, at a writer’s retreat in Greece with their twin girls and the usual midlife baggage. Author Jesse is hurting over his 13-year-old son (Seamus Davey-Fitzpatrick) who lives with his hate-filled ex. Environmentalist Celine has her own, involved dilemmas. And yep, they’re still talking, talking, talking it all out, courtesy of a densely worded script from Linklater and his two veteran stars.
“If we were meeting for the first time today,” Celine asks, candidly nailing the essence of every long-term relationship, “would you find me attractive as I am?” Before Midnight revisits a couple whose self-exploration we’ve come to know as well as our own, with Hawke and Delpy sparking and sparring through it with the reflexive energy of the real, multilayered deal. This isn’t the shiny, happy stuff of fantasy: every combative word of it rings absolutely true.