No, there doesn’t need to be a fourth Before movie

Tom Davidson
3 min readJun 22, 2021

You can have too much of a good thing, and the three Before movies, Before Sunrise, Before Sunset and Before Midnight are perfect . There is no need for a fourth.

Julie Delpy and Ethan Hawke as Celine and Jesse

In a recent interview with Telerama Julie Delpy revealed that Richard Linklater had approached her about a possible fourth entry in the beloved series.

Discussing her musings on possible retirement from the industry she said:

“I often think about (leaving the industry. A year and a half ago, I was not far from it. The hell I went through to produce my film [‘My Zoe’] had exhausted me. I said no to Richard Linklater for the fourth part of the ‘Before’ films. I thought that maybe I could go back to school. I would make a very good doctor, for example. You give me three symptoms, and I tell you what you are suffering from…But I like to create, to tell stories; it’s stronger than me.”

For those unaware the Before trilogy of films starring Delpy alongside Ethan Hawke, and directed by Richard Linklater, were released nine years apart, in 1995, 2004 and 2013.

They tell the story of Celine and Jesse who meet by chance on a train in Europe and spend the night walking the streets of Vienna together falling in love…

The release schedule puts us right on course for a 2022 debut of film four: possible mooted titles: Before Noon (terrible), After Midnight (also terrible).

And it seems Linklater is keen at getting the trio back together but Delpy was not and there simply cannot be a fourth film without Celine.

I am a devout champion of the whole trilogy as one of the most realistic, heartbreaking yet still romantic examples of a modern relationship put to the screen.

In fact I would comfortably have it as the best trilogy of the modern era.

I understand the clamour for a fourth film. A generation of film fans has grown up with Jesse and Celine and seen their relationship evolve over three films. There were concerns about Before Midnight but it blew them out of the water.

But for those who reacted with anger or disappointment at the news of no fourth film, I’d suggest revisiting Before Midnight, which was as perfect an ending to the trilogy as you could imagine.

Having just had a huge argument about their relationship in a nondescript hotel room (what a scene WHAT A SCENE) a remorseful Jesse seduces Celine all over again while looking out onto the sea with a story about him actually being a time traveller.

It is perfectly Jesse; childish but heartfelt, dorky but endearing.

And Celine, finally worn down by her husband’s tireless efforts to melt her frosty mood replies:

“Well, it must have been one hell of a night we’re about to have.”

Eighteen years after meeting, Celine and Jesse in Before Midnight

As for Hawke himself it’s now considered journalistic sacrilege to not ask him about a fourth entry and he’s always happy to opine his views.

In 2017 he said:

“I would have said after the second there was definitely going to be a third one but I do feel complete in that the first one starts with the older couple arguing on the train and by the end of the third one we’ve become that couple. If it were to continue it would change shape. It would be something else.”

Something else… maybe. But it shouldn’t be a Before movie.

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Tom Davidson

31-year-old journalist living in south westLondon trying my hand at some film writing as and when