Julie Delpy and Ethan Hawke in 'Before Midnight' (Photo: Sony Pictures Classics)
Indie filmmaking hasn't produced a lot of enduring love stories, but director Richard Linklater came up with a true winner in 1995's "Before Sunrise." The film starred Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy as Jesse and Celine, two strangers who meet on a train headed to Vienna and impulsively spend the night in the city, chatting for hours as they struggle with the obvious fact they're falling in love with one another.
The chemistry between Hawke and Delpy was so powerful, Linklater brought the characters back together nine years later for the 2004 sequel, "Before Sunset," in which the pair – older, more disillusioned, but still infatuated – spend a afternoon together in Paris that could last considerably longer. (It says a lot about how easily the actors clicked that Hawke and Delpy co-wrote the screenplay for "Before Sunset" with Linklater.)
It's both a welcome surprise and entirely fitting that after another nine years Hawke and Delpy have reunited with Linklater again for a third outing with Jesse and Celine, "Before Midnight," which is due to arrive in theaters on May 24 after a well-received premiere at the Sundance Film Festival last January. The film's trailer has just been released here on Yahoo! Movies, and if it reveals things are a lot different for the couple these days, it also shows they still banter with an unerring sense of charm, and Hawke and Delpy remain a compelling and credible screen couple.
Watch the exclusive trailer premiere for 'Before Midnight':
"Before Midnight" finds Jesse and Celine once again traveling through a beautiful setting, this time a sunny vacation community on the Greek coastline. But right off the bat we discover how the ambiguous ending of "Before Sunset" panned out – Jesse and Celine are now married and have twin daughters, and while the spark doesn't seem to have gone out of their marriage, they're a bit less impulsive and footloose than they were before.
They discuss sightseeing with the kids and trying to keep the youngsters in tow while giving the short version of their story to other couples staying at the same resort (with Jesse and Celine predictably having different memories of the events). "This place is so full of thousands of years of myth and tragedy, I thought something tragic was going to happen," Celine says while preparing dinner.
If her reactions to Jesse's ongoing immaturity and impulsiveness are a log way from tragic, the preview suggests that Jesse is still crazy about his wife, but Celine is growing weary of her husband, at one point saying "This is how people start breaking up" as Jesse replies "Oh, my God" in a tone that defines exasperation.
Clocking in under two minutes, the trailer for "Before Midnight" can only tell us so much about the story, but plot was never as important in this series as the performances by Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy, and their ability to deliver a conversation that's clever, funny, and thoroughly believable. This preview indicates the stars are still on point in the second sequel, and that Linklater still knows how to make the most of their undeniable chemistry. If you like your love stories smart and a little offbeat, "Before Midnight" could be the first great hipster date movie of the summer when it opens on May 24.
- Arts & Entertainment
- Julie Delpy
- Ethan Hawke
- Richard Linklater