Before Midnight ★★★★

The third chapter in Linklater's Before series is unlike the previous two instalments in many ways, but perfectly in sync with the entire trilogy's narrative in the one way that truly matters. This film feels is still just as real and pure.

It's easy to spot the differences – the young passion and unrequited love is no longer strong, and the years of child-rearing and life-sharing have taken their toll on a couple who reach a precarious point in their long relationship. The conversations from the first film were about discovery, about finding middle ground and building connections. The second film's were about what could have been and what might be. This film's are about what is, and what never was.

Easily the most beautiful of the three movies - due in no small part to the sun-drenched setting - this is also the first film with both a sense of completeness and fragility. There's very real conflict and palpable tension that was non-existent in the franchise until this point, but behind that is the same passion that has always existed, it has just transformed into a new form. It's new form is the will to make Jesse and Celine's love work.

Linklater's dialogue is just as sparkling as always, and while I didn't have the same fondness for this film as Before Sunset (my favourite of the trilogy) it does feel like the most real, which is truly a triumph.

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