How one cannot surrender to the brilliance of Julie Delpy is beyond me. The frank, open beauty of all that she is, not as an actress nor a writer nor anything else, but as a human. She is almost palpable on the screen, every strand of hair and flicker in the eye confirming her status as the most vivid yet regular screen presence. Through her, we enter Before Midnight, magnetised to her peculiar allure, as if literally entering her mind and body, and experiencing life as Richard Linklater dictates. But she is achieving something higher than what she and many others in this film are attempting to. Because life as Richard Linklater dictates is just an imitation of life as we know it. Before Midnight exists on its characters and their dialogue and has utterly no other significant concerns. And when Delpy and Ethan Hawke plunge ever deeper into the ugly crevices of their relationship, they have opportunity to explore these characters with greater insight than is usually afforded actors, and when the stars align and every detail of this film coalesces to create brief tonal perfection, the effect is magical. But what problems plague the film - from the excruciating literary pretensions early on to the corny cop-out at the end, and through it all, an awry focus - Linklater, Delpy, Hawke and Kim Krizan are making a film from the perspective of a viewer, catching up with Celine and Jesse after nine years. In what reality - and Before Midnight is assuredly rooted in supposed reality - would a couple with such unique history save up all these stories from their pasts, and issues in their relationship for just one random day? The feeling is that this couple haven't communicated in nine years, until now they do and suddenly the cameras are rolling and it's time to DISCUSS! Delpy and Hawke still have an awkward chemistry, defined by disingenuous laughs at bad jokes and a curious misunderstanding of one another. This may be where people want to see this couple nine years on, but it's just not where they would be.