Still “minimalist” and quotable, it intimately unloads the psyches of older lovers Jesse (Hawke) and Celine (Delpy), and we get to see how they’ve progressed, several years after the 2004 sequel. Much has changed, and it’s especially elating to see both characters reach a significant turning point once more. Delpy and Hawke are aging beautifully, now playing dutiful and somewhat weary parents.
Co-written by the three frequent collaborators, “Before Midnight” treads both tranquil and disconcerting paths; we get to listen to Jesse and Celine's enlightening talks about hopes, fears, and heartbreaking moments, years after getting together and having children. The lovers have grown tremendously together, their momentous conversations recapping their lives so far, and hinting at where they’re headed. And we care for them even more.
It’s not for the uninitiated, but it’s talky—actually, it’s dialogue-rich enough for casual viewers to become acquainted with the two characters. But it’s not a standalone film, and will be appreciated more by those familiar already with the enduring and growing relationship of Jesse and Celine.