I just saw this amazing movie at its Sundance premiere. It's wonderful on so many levels I don't know where to start. The performances are fantastic. If Julie Delpy doesn't get an Oscar nomination it would be a shame (the only stupider thing the Academy could do is have 10 best picture nominations.) Ethan Hawke's performance is brilliant in its own way, however, it's a less showy part and I'm not certain it'll get the recognition it deserves.
The writing is astounding. Sharp, intelligent, biting, humorous, with staggering subtext, but most importantly–it feels real. If the screenplay doesn't get an Oscar nomination it would be a shame (the only thing stupider the Academy could do is have 15 best picture nominations.)
Rick Linklater is now officially the Jedi master of indie filmmaking (Yoda Soderbergh actually said he's giving up filmmaking.) SLACKERS was only 22 years ago, and Linklater has matured into one of the most original filmic storytellers in the history of the medium. 95% of the movie is two-shots of people talking (the other 5% is people talking at a dinner table and cut aways to the gorgeous Greek landscape.) I don't know any other living filmmaker who could pull this off. There's a one-take during a car drive that lasts probably ten minutes (before a brief cut away), however, it goes on for probably another ten minutes (and Linklater said he could have kept the whole take, but needed to show ruins along the country side and cut away for script purposes, not performance.) There's a 30 minute scene of the two actors in a hotel room and I didn't even notice it (by that time I was so invested in the characters and their actions and emotions I wasn't even aware of time, it wasn't until the post screening Q&A that Linklater mentioned the actual time of the scene.)
All three, Linklater, Delpy, and Hawke have matured into their rolls (writing, directing, acting) so easily that it's all just great fun for them and the audience. This is a must see for many reasons (including the history of film–there's only one other modern trilogy where the final film is the best–LOTR, and their food budget was probably more than the total cost of BEFORE MIDNIGHT.)
i could go on gushing about this movie ad nauseum, however I'll finish by saying that BEFORE MIDNIGHT is what indie film making (and the Sundance Film Festival) is all about–truly original, creative, unique, interesting characters and their stories, told outside the Hollywood system, by people passionate about their craft (and in this case at the top of their craft).