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Before-Midnight-2

Richard Linklater’s latest installment in this series with Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy left me a bit colder than the first two, although oddly enough this one seemed more real and true. Although it contains its own long walk through beautiful romantic Europe and constant talk scene that defined the first two films, the centerpiece here is a wicked fight between the two that seems to threaten their relationship. Although given what a jerk-off Ethan Hawke’s character seems to be (and the real problem with the last two movies is the utter absurdity that he’s a successful and even serious novelist. He just doesn’t pull that off at all) and how high-strung and dramatic Julie Delpy’s character clearly is, at least I think they’ve probably had a fight like this 20 times since they’ve been married. This scene is actually quite good; unlike the pretentious dinner party or the rather pointless walk and talk, here the artifice goes away and two actors really go at it. The film at least attempts to deal with the sacrifices women are forced to make when they are both successful at work and mothers, which is a lot more than most films do, but the real purpose is to take us the next step in these people’s relationship as they move into middle age and the problems of long-term marriage. On this, the film does a credible job. It’s not the brilliant masterpiece or best film of the year that I’ve read from some reviewers by any means, but it’s a worthy film nonetheless.

7/10

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