DENNIS SCHWARTZ 
IS THERE ANY GOOD 
IN SAYING 
EVERYTHING ABOUT A MOVIE?

 
BEFORE MIDNIGHT (director/writer: Richard Linklater; screenwriters: Ethan Hawke/Julie Delpy; cinematographer: Christos Voudouris; editor:  Sandra Adair; music:  Graham Reynolds; cast: Ethan Hawke (Jesse), Julie Delpy (Celine), Seamus Davey-Fitzpatrick (Hank), Jennifer Prior (Ella), Charlotte Prior (Nina), Ariane Labed (Anna), Walter Lassally (Patrick), Athina Rachel Tsangari (Ariadni), Xenia Kalogeropoulou (Natalia), Panos Koronis (Stefanos), Rachel Tsangari (Athina); Runtime: 109; MPAA Rating: R; producers: Richard Linklater/Christos V. Konstantakopoulos/Sara Woodhatch; Sony Pictures Classics; 2013-in English with some French & Greek dialogue)

 
"The acting, the dialogue and direction are superb."

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

The talky third leg of the engaging trilogy directed by Richard Linklater ("Before Sunset"/"Before Sunrise"/"Dazed and Confused") is "A My Dinner With Andre" relationship film about a modern-day romance that extends from 1995, when the lovers were in their twenties and met on a train to Vienna, until the present, when the lovers are in their forties and on a Greek holiday. Their Greek experience probes their long-term commitment and parenthood. It's cleverly written by Linklater and co-stars Julie Delpy and Ethan Hawke.

In idyllic countryside Greece (no scenes of political strife), the Parisian environmentalist Celine (Julie Delpy) and the divorced American writer Jesse (Ethan Hawke), an unmarried couple living in Paris, upon the invitation of a writer named Patrick (Walter Lassally), vacation in one of his guest houses with their twin daughters.

The pic opens as Jesse sends his adolescent son (Seamus Davey-Fitzpatrick), who spent the summer on Greece with dad, back by plane alone to his mother in Chicago. Jesse has written a best-seller about his relationship with Celine, and has used the summer holiday to start writing his next book.

After saying farewell to his son, Jesse and Celine drive through the countryside to their guest house. The twins sleep in the back seat while their mom and dad engage in playful banter about his guilt of sending his son back to his screwed-up ex-wife and the pitfalls and joys of their relationship. When they reach their lodging, their guests hear Jesse out as he describes what he's trying to do in his next book, and all the guests attend a farewell dinner for the likable couple. The next day the couple take a long walk to the village and talk incessantly while wandering through the countryside. One of the friendly guest house couples (Panos Koronis and Rachel Tsangari) give the couple a gift to spend a night away from the twins in a suite at the local hotel. While there the couple tease each other and then get caught up in a more serious conversation about their present anxieties and the strains on their seemingly perfect relationship, which leads to a finely tuned heated argument over this and that.

The mature, humorous, intelligent and somewhat melancholy but unique, intimate and realistic romance film is an homage to imperfection and how difficult it is to make a relationship work. The acting, the dialogue and direction are superb.

REVIEWED ON 6/19/2013       GRADE: A-

Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"

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