It’s a moving, funny, gripping movie, a wise portrait not of fresh romance, teeming with projection and possibilities, but of a deeply dug-in marriage, ripe with familiarity, banter, and love but also with drudgeries and creeping resentments. Mature (which is to say complex adult life) love has rarely been treated so fully in the movies. The script, like those for the first two films, was co-written by the director, Richard Linklater, and the two stars, Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy, who act their parts with thorough naturalness, often in takes that last 10 minutes or more—Jesse smart, witty, but also a bit slick and (more than we’ve known before) manipulative, Céline even smarter in a way, extremely appealing, though confused and occasionally haranguing. In the big fight scene at the end, they’re both guilty and innocent of the sins with which they’re charged (which is usually the case in life), and the resolution is mutually hard-won yet far from final (which, again, is how these things often go).
The 1080p transfer is very fine, if not an eye-grabber; it’s a bit soft-focused, but that’s how it’s meant to be. Linklater captures the mythic landscape all around, but he doesn’t mean to fetishize its beauty (as some rom-coms set in exotic lands do, to distract from their hollow cores); it’s but the backdrop to his characters’ timeless chronicle. The surround sound is spacious and clear. The commentary track with the three writers is funny and illuminating.
Studio: Sony Pictures Classics, 2013
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
Audio Format: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
Length: 109 mins.
MPAA Rating: R
Director: Richard Linklater
Starring: Ethan Hawke, Julie Delpy, Seamus Davey-Fitzpatrick