‘Before Midnight’ revisits Celine and Jesse in middle age

Despina Spyrou/Sony Pictures Classics

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You’d be forgiven for confusing Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy with Jesse and Celine, the now middle-aged Gen-X couple at the heart of the beloved “Before Sunrise/Sunset/Midnight” trilogy. Because these conversation-fueled films feel so natural, the actors confess that some fans mistakenly believe they’re just playing versions of themselves and improvising much of the dialogue. And indeed, in person, both actors prove to be voluble types. Hawke, still angularly handsome at 42, evinces a boyish charm that is not unlike his restlessly rakish character, whom Celine compares to an overgrown American teenager. Meanwhile, Delpy, 43, shares Celine’s feisty feminism, raunchy vivaciousness, and fearless self-expression. But those parallels exist only on the surface. “It’s not autobiographical, but it comes from a true place,” Delpy explains.

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