Before Midnight

Before Midnight ★★★★

A nice change of pace for the possible concluding entry in this trilogy, while mostly retaining a lot of the great aspects that made me fall in love with these slice of life focused films.

Initially I was surprised that Linklater changed up his directing style quite a bit compared to how similar the previous two films were. There's quite a bit more going on this time around, especially in the first half of the film. Instead of focusing squarely on the two leads, there are some supporting cast members that make a reasonably lengthy appearance early in the film. It feels a lot less cohesive as well, given that the previous two films took place over the course of less than a day each. This time around there's less fluidity to how scenes flow into one another, making it feel more traditional. It sort of fits into the theme of this film though, since the other two were all about spontaneity, while this is decidedly not.

The first half of this film, I think is unquestionably the weakest part of the trilogy. Not to say it's bad by any means, I was still really enjoying things, but there's that sense of aimlessness that Linklater's films often carry appearing here. A few of Linklater's philosophical ramblings are delivered as well, which I'm really just not that into. However the second half is really excellent and possibly contains my favourite scene out of the trilogy. The hotel room scene is masterfully acted and a fantastic switch-up from the sort of drama this film series had delivered so far. I'm not totally sold on the ending which, while hugely charming as usual, feels a little anti-climactic considering the immense scene that just finished up beforehand.

Another great film in this series that tries some new things while successfully retaining all that made people enjoy the series in the first place. This works as a great close to a trilogy, but I'd be down for a fourth entry. Before Twilight? Before Dusk? Roll on 2022!

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