Jesse (Ethan Hawke) and Celine (Julie Delpy) first met in their twenties in Before Sunrise, reunited in their thirties in Before Sunset, and now, in director/co-writer Richard Linklater’s Before Midnight, they face the past, present and future. Jesse’s a successful novelist, and they’re in Greece at a writer’s retreat, staying in the bucolic country villa of an older expat writer, Patrick (Walter Lassally).
As a treat, their Greek friends have gifted Jesse and Celine with a night at a luxurious seaside hotel while they babysit their young twin daughters Ella and Nina (Jennifer and Charlotte Prior). Feeling the undercurrent of friction between them, Celine wants to beg off, but their friends insist. They set off on foot through the spectacular countryside, enjoying each other’s company, talking, teasing, debating, flirting. But for Jesse and Celine, realities intrude: the weight of children, work, ambitions, disappointments and the strains of an evolving, deepening relationship. Their idyllic night tests them in unexpected ways, and before the clock strikes midnight, their story again unfolds.