First Hit: First rate dialogue, acting and film.
It isn't always that sequels to a film are as good as the original. I don't think any of the "Rocky" sequels were as gritty and inspiring as the first although a couple were OK.
The entire "Godfather" series were strong and the color and feel of the original set the tone by which Francis Ford Coppola moved forward with mindfulness – not just for the money. The newest prequel to the "Star Trek" series may also follow in good standing as I certainly enjoyed the first two film (see my previous reviews in this blog) and hope the next continues the quality previously set forth. "Star Wars" did a great job on some of the follow-up films and certainly fell down in some of the others.
What makes this group of films ("Before Sunrise", "After Sunset", and "Before Midnight") unique is that these films are based in dialogue. They aren't about special effects or right triumphing over wrong or good versus evil. These stories hold together with deep and truthful scripting and the execution of this script by outstanding actors.
One of the major differences in this film versus the other two was that there were other actors featured in this one. Although Jesse’s (Ethan Hawke) son Hank (Seamus Davey-Fitzpatrick) has minor screen time, he is prominently a featured subject of the ensuing dialogue. It was very smart to have him be featured in the opening scene. Jesse and Celine’s (Julie Delpy) twins Nina and Ella (respectfully Charlotte and Jennifer Prior) and working friends and colleagues were also part of the mix in lively conversations.
However, this film is about Celine and Jesse, how their life has unfolded, who they are as people and how they love each other. I cannot say enough about how I admired the long scenes of non-stop dialogue. There was no clipping of their exchange to make the film move faster – there was no need – it moved at light-speed anyway because the characters we strong and deep enough for the audience to be pulled into their story.
Hawke was the best he’s ever been. His maturity, clarity, and belief in his character made for a performance, that to me was sublime - Oscar worthy. Delpy’s delivery of Celine’s dialogue was filled with feeling and emotion. She believed her dialogue and it showed. Delpy, Hawke and Richard Linklater (Director) wrote and extraordinary script filled with compassion, passion, and depth of character. Linklater performed magic directing this film with long beautiful sequences that captured two willful people. Direction was Oscar worthy as well.
Overall: If there is another film in this series, I’ll go see it because this is a series of intelligent delight in film making and storytelling.