Watch the Trailer for Before Midnight, the Sequel to Before Sunset

Brow Beat
Slate's Culture Blog
March 28 2013 1:16 PM

Trailer Critic: Before Midnight

Julie Delpy and Ethan Hawke.

Sony Pictures Classics.

To be honest, I didn’t really want to watch this trailer. Céline (Julie Delpy) and Jesse (Ethan Hawke), the couple at the heart of Before Sunrise and Before Sunset, occupy such a large space in my emotional life that, for once, I just want to ignore all the advance word on this movie and go into the theater completely in the dark about what has happened to them since we left them in Céline’s apartment nine years ago, listening to Nina Simone, a hopeful, uncertain look on Jesse’s face as he watched Céline dance and missed his flight out of Paris. (This is not an unusual feeling, apparently: Back in 2004, David Edelstein’s review for Slate was headlined “Don’t Read This Review! See Richard Linklater’s Before Sunset first.”)

David Haglund David Haglund

David Haglund is a senior editor at Slate. He runs Brow Beat, Slate's culture blog.

But that’s not really an option if you run a culture blog; we’ve already published a very short review of the movie, which Tim Wu says is nearly perfect. So I went ahead and pressed play. And two minutes later, my expectations for this movie weren’t dimmed at all.


There are kids now, two little girls, and the movie will not take place in real time, as Before Sunset did. The music used here suggests that the distributor is trying to capitalize on the similarity between this movie’s title and its European setting to a certain surprise hit from Woody Allen a couple years back—but that surely has more to do with marketing than it does with the movie Richard Linklater has actually made.

So there are no big surprises in this trailer, which is just as well. I already had a sense that Before Midnight would delve into the difficulties of long-term romantic love, and I might have guessed that Céline would begin to think she’s “stuck with an American teenager.” We already knew from Before Sunset that the couple’s romantic backstory could be a burden to them, setting expectations that the rest of life can’t match. And of course this movie will be about the passage of time, about getting old, about memory.

But with the story of Jesse and Céline, what matters are the unexpected emotional turns that we sometimes take in conversation with each other, personal epiphanies that aren’t really the stuff of movie trailers. The important information here is that the movie will be out May 24, and everyone should go see it.



The Irritating Confidante

John Dickerson on Ben Bradlee’s fascinating relationship with John F. Kennedy.

My Father Invented Social Networking at a Girls’ Reform School in the 1930s

Renée Zellweger’s New Face Is Too Real

Sleater-Kinney Was Once America’s Best Rock Band

Can it be again?

The All The President’s Men Scene That Captured Ben Bradlee

Medical Examiner

Is It Better to Be a Hero Like Batman?

Or an altruist like Bruce Wayne?


Driving in Circles

The autonomous Google car may never actually happen.

The World’s Human Rights Violators Are Signatories on the World’s Human Rights Treaties

How Punctual Are Germans?

  News & Politics
The World
Oct. 21 2014 11:40 AM The U.S. Has Spent $7 Billion Fighting the War on Drugs in Afghanistan. It Hasn’t Worked. 
Oct. 21 2014 5:57 PM Soda and Fries Have Lost Their Charm for Both Consumers and Investors
The Vault
Oct. 21 2014 2:23 PM A Data-Packed Map of American Immigration in 1903
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 21 2014 1:12 PM George Tiller’s Murderer Threatens Another Abortion Provider, Claims Right of Free Speech
  Slate Plus
Oct. 22 2014 6:00 AM Why It’s OK to Ask People What They Do David Plotz talks to two junior staffers about the lessons of Working.
Oct. 21 2014 12:05 PM Same-Sex Couples at Home With Themselves in 1980s America
Future Tense
Oct. 21 2014 4:14 PM Planet Money Uncovers One Surprising Reason the Internet Is Sexist
  Health & Science
Climate Desk
Oct. 21 2014 11:53 AM Taking Research for Granted Texas Republican Lamar Smith continues his crusade against independence in science.
Sports Nut
Oct. 20 2014 5:09 PM Keepaway, on Three. Ready—Break! On his record-breaking touchdown pass, Peyton Manning couldn’t even leave the celebration to chance.