A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Relationships, and people, are works in progress, and, as such, are rife with maladies and stresses both real and imagined. But honesty and commitment -- and plenty of chemistry -- can be the glue that keeps people together through the metamorphoses.
Positive Role Models
They're imperfect and frustratingly complicated, but Jesse and Celine are textured characters who struggle with very real concerns. Watching them parse and navigate them is both instructive and exhilarating.
Violence & Scariness
A bitter argument between two people.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
A couple is shown kissing as they're about to have sex, with the woman's top undone so her breasts are on full display. The same woman sits talking on a phone with her top still undone. Some frank discussions at the dinner table about the sex lives of couples both long-term and newly together.
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Strong language includes "f--k," "s--t," "prick," "t-ts," "a--hole," and one "c--t."
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Products & Purchases
The brand Trojan is mentioned, as are Skype and Leica. Characters use iPhones.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Social drinking/smoking; for example, a couple is shown smoking while cooking dinner and drinking while dining.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Before Midnight is a smart, talky, insightful dramedy that extends the love story of Jesse (Ethan Hawke) and Celine (Julie Delpy), the couple who first met and fell in love in Before Sunrise and got reacquainted in Before Sunset. This latest installment is an unflinching look at the complications of a relationship between two very complicated people -- including how to negotiate gender roles when children arrive -- and as such, may not be especially relatable for teens, though their parents will probably find much that rings true. Expect some social drinking and cigarette smoking, swearing (including "f--k" and "c--t"), and a scene in which a woman's breasts are displayed for an extended period of time. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Watching a couple flirt, fight, negotiate, cajole, and challenge each other has never been as compelling as when the couple in question is Jesse and Celine. The two, played as always by the actors who originated, developed, and helped write the characters, don't disappoint in this authentic and thrilling check-in. It's been nine years since they left us hanging in Before Sunset, wondering whether they'd finally be together. Yes, of course. How could they not be? But is it for good? That's the question they explore -- among many others -- in this thoroughly satisfying chapter of their saga. What happens when true love isn't just consummated but domesticated? Does it lose its luster?
Director Richard Linklater is unafraid to follow the real rhythms of conversation. Like the other "Before" movies, much of BEFORE MIDNIGHT has the audience listening in on Jesse and Celine, though there are more people around them now: children, friends, other couples. Instead of taking away from the film, though, this loosening up of Jesse and Celine's tight circle only adds more texture to the ongoing art that is their relationship. But Linklater knows well enough not to stray too far from Jesse and Celine, and when we get to have them to ourselves in the second half of the film, it's a joy, even if they look as if they're not having that much fun. It's a joy because we can relate to their battles; but even if they're familiar, they're never boring. It's a joy because Hawke and Delpy work so well together that it doesn't seem like work. And it's a joy because, as it may be for two people evaluating their connection, it's good to be reminded why we fell in love with Jesse and Celine in the first place.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.