This review was written by my Film Swappers partner, Chris Ranson. You can follow Chris on twitter @Wolverinefactor.

Before MidnightTitle: Before Midnight (2013)
Runtime: 109 minutes
Director: Richard Linklater

I was super excited for Before Midnight when I first heard about it. I adore the first two films (Before Sunrise and Before Sunset), and simply couldn’t wait to see Before Midnight, which is why it made the cut for my most anticipated summer films of 2013. Heck, I even drove 2 hours into New York City to catch a screening of it!

In 1995 we met Jesse (Ethan Hawke) and Celine (Julie Deply), two strangers on a train who spend a magical evening together. In 2004 we meet the couple nine years later, while Jesse is promoting his new novel, based off of their one amazing evening. A lot has changed in their lives, but it’s great seeing where it all goes in this one evening.

Before Midnight picks up in 2013, 18 years after our couple first met. If you haven’t seen the first two films, do yourself a favor and  watch them before you see Before Midnight because this trilogy deserves to be watched in the order that it was intended.

What I loved about this film is that, despite being 18 years later, Ethan Hawke and Julie Deply both fall right back into these characters and bring them to life with ease. I’ve never seen two actors just become two very likeable characters, so many years later. Not once did I think “oh that’s Ethan Hawke”. They live and breathe the roles they are given.

Thanks to writer/director Richard Linklater, we have a script that is so solid, that it doesn’t matter that we spend 109 minutes with just dialogue and no actual action taking place. The dialogue is often witty and always smart. When the climax of the film takes place, I just didn’t know what to do: how can this be fixed? Is it true? Why the pussyfooting? Oh god, is it really going here?

With no action to speak of, we witness a mental train wreck that just bashes your brains in with emotions. How did we end up here? That’s why I not only loved this film, but the first two as well. It’s a finely crafted tale wrought with emotion. Anyone who enjoys romantic films needs to see this trilogy, and I honestly can’t wait to rewatch this when it hits dvd in a few months. If it’s playing in your area, find a way to watch the first two and dive into this one because it’s that good.