"Before Midnight": A Review

The super hot indie flick happening now is, of course, "Before Midnight," starring Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy in the third of their celebrated "Before" trilogy. So here's my review of director Richard Linklater's latest. Just to clarify, I haven't seen it, but I have seen -- over and over and over again -- the publicity campaign, so I'll weigh in on that, since that shows us all we really need to know anyway.

1. Naming is critical to this venture. The one thing that could doom further installments in this groundbreaking series is the lack of times of day that would work well in the title. Try "After Noon." Not happening. Maybe "Before Happy Hour" would work. It could feature the sassy lovers arguing Dick and Liz style one afternoon before they reach for the Syrah.

2. The main publicity still features Hawke and Delpy "unselfconsciously" listening to the witty banter of one of their successful friends. We know they are at ease because Delpy is twirling her hair and Hawke is, yes, you've seen it, picking his teeth with his thumb. Hey, maybe that's European. Although I understand a deleted scene did show them back in their room later with Delpy asking him why the hell he can't floss in private like a normal person.

3. The other main publicity shot features the cute couple walking along on their Greek Island with Hawke yakking away in her ear. That's fine: it reveals their "dynamic." But what I like is that his shirt is half tucked in and half untucked. Yes, he's one of those guys who just doesn't give a damn about how he looks, but looks cool anyway. Never mind that his naturalness was achieved after they tried takes with both sides tucked in, neither side tucked, left side tucked, right side tucked, and one with a Serge Gainsbourgh t-shirt.

4. The series seems to depend on us really liking and identifying with Celine and Jesse. Jesse is a novelist by now. Hey, me too! Well, no, I'm not a novelist, but I'm a lot like one.


  1. I think I started to watch the first of the trilogy, and it made me want to scream. I lasted about 2.5 minutes. I'm a terrible audience. Obviously there was more going on there than I realized.


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