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Before Midnight (DQ)


Stars: Ethan Hawke, Julie Delpy

Director: Richard Linklater

The third of Linklater's treatises on romance and angst is even less bearable than the other two, Before Sunrise and Before Sunset.

Hawke and Delpy, now a couple in their early 40s with twin daughters, bicker, whine, bitch and fight their through the tail-end of a six-week (we should all be as lucky as this undeserving pair) holiday in Greece, chiefly over whether they should move from Paris to Chicago so that Hawke can see more of his 13-year-old son from an earlier marriage.

I longed for the warring couple to throttle each other before the end, but it was a forlorn hope; meanwhile, the expletive-ridden, pain-inflicting dialogue apparently actually 'serves to show an evolving, deepening relationship'. Who are these people kidding?

The film is mostly a two-hander, but there's also a dinner-party scene revolving mostly round vulgar references to sex; perhaps I move in more secluded (or more civilised) circles, but is this really the way couples exchange conversation over the dinner table?

'I feel a passive-aggressive threat in everything you say,' bawls Delpy to Hawke. Who actually yells things like this in the heat of an argument? Bringing pretension to a fine art, the film is also enough to put you off Greek holidays for life. Most film critics will probably like this one, although I doubt the public will share their enthusiasm.

David Quinlan

USA/Greece 2013. UK Distributor: Sony (Sony Pictures Classics). Colour by FotoKem.
107 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 2, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 0, Swearing 3.

Review date: 20 Jun 2013