Before Midnight Reviews: Richard Linklater's Latest Lights Up Sundance

before midnight Richard Linklater's Before Sunrise and its follow-up, Before Sunset, are two of indie cinema's best-loved gems. Set in real-time and following Jesse and Celine as they simply wander about Paris and talk (played wonderfully by Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy), these movies have accumulated a cult following over recent years - and deservedly so. Both Sunrise and Sunset are intimate, honest touching and life-affirming pictures - not to mention romantic and highly realistic. Now the third - and presumably final - chapter in the series, Before Midnight, has just made its debut at Sundance. Is this a film to cap the series off as a perfect trilogy? How does it continue a story which seemed to be so perfectly wrapped up already? Here's what the critics have had to say thus far. In his largely positive review for the Hollywood Reporter, John DeFore said:
"Though this stage is harder to watch, audiences who have aged along with Celine and Jesse will treasure this new episode. Before Midnight offers the possibility that the couple's odds-defying relationship will end in a one-day conflagration of pent-up resentment and parental guilt. The previous films' manufactured deadlines -- a train departure, a trip to the airport -- are no longer with us; the pair are now together until they decide not to be. Turns out, that's as dramatic as a ticking clock."
Erik Kohn over at IndieWire praised the film and called it "masterful," granting it his highest rating ("A+"):
" magnifies the experience of self-examination with greater emotional weight than its predecessors. While still leaving open their future prospects, the movie brings the experiment full circle by returning to the existential yearning Linklater captures so well."
Matt Goldberg over at Collider was positive, granting the film an "A-" rating:

"I€™m not going to pretend I can personally connect to the situation presented in Before Midnight. What makes the film, and this trilogy, so utterly fantastic is that I don€™t have to. Each of these movies fills me with hope and dread when it comes to the nature of love. Before Midnight is the one that instills the most apprehension because it shows what happens when you add nine years to true love."

Katey Rich, writing for Cinemablend, said the movie was "perfect" and praised its surprises:

"Before Midnight might make you greedy-- nobody's promised another movie in nine years, but we all want it, and how are we even supposed to wait that long to meet these two again?"

Damon Wise, however, writing for the Guardian, gave the movie 2 stars and wrote:
"And so the repartee begins, but this time seeming much less fresh and much more contrived than before. There are moments of truth and comedy for sure, and many long-standing couples will recognise themselves at several points in this awkward night of reflection."

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