Ian Hobbs’s review published on Letterboxd:
"Well, it must have been one hell of a night we're about to have."
You mean to tell me that Richard Linklater wrote all of this? None of it was improvised? Okay let me just pick my jaw of the ground, because Before Midnight did something I didn't think a film could truly do; it made me realize how life works. What I mean is that the film is so real and raw, there's not a cushion on what Linklater wants to show. I haven't seen a film like this in a while. It simultaneously broke and repaired me all in the span of an hour and forty minutes.
Richard Linklater's conclusion to his simply *phenomenal* trilogy, is a heartbreak of a film that shows the continued lives of Jesse and Celine, and it really broke me. I can't even form words on what I just witnessed. From its opening airport scene to the thirty-minute hotel sequence, Before Midnight is a combination of characters and emotions interwoven through the landscape of Greece and Linklater directs it so damn well.
His signature form of directing continues, as he puts together these marvelous long takes and the breathtaking visual simplicity that he has. Linklater is no joke when he shows real life. Before Midnight is raw and pure; from its dialogue to its scenery, it's all real and I couldn't keep my eyes of the screen. Not only does he direct this beautifully, but his writing ability continues from his first two in the trilogy, Before Sunrise and Before Sunset, that has these characters just go through life. It's simple, but effective, and that's why the film is a goddamn masterpiece. It's relatable on so many levels. If you're not a parent, you're the kid watching the parent. It's all done so fanatically well, that it left me in awe.
The performances from Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy have never been better. Their Oscar-worthy portrayals of Jesse and Celine are the glue that holds all of Before Midnight together. Each line delivered, each emotion felt, every time they talk, I feel in love with them and want to see everything that has happened to them. The long take of the car ride was done to perfection with Hawke and Delpy discussing things and their lives, and it just works. I can't explain it, but it does. Perhaps the greatest thing that Linklater has ever crafted, the final hotel part is one of the most real and emotionally draining things that I've ever seen, so I applaud all three of them for it.
Not only does Linklater transcend the normal romantic drama film with Before Midnight, but he manages to make one of the best films of 2013 and of all time as well. I really loved this film, it's the realist film I've seen in my entire life, and I simply admire everyone that worked on it. Whether it's the raw and emotional tone, or the dialogue that tugs at the heartstrings constantly, it's hard not to fall in love with this. In simple terms, Richard Linklater's Before Midnight is a perfect conclusion to the trilogy of films and it really is a masterpiece of filmmaking.