Before Midnight. I’d call it a must-see if you’ve seen and liked the previous two movies. It’s been a real treat to see these fictional people grow and change. There’s a couple moments in there (a dinner table monologue, a sunset countdown) that are so perfectly heartstring-tugging and bittersweet. I also liked the expanded cast with some couples older and younger to add some ground or contrast, and the timely nods to new technology and ways we connect. Somewhat in the same vein, I have to recommend Certified Copy, a brilliant walk-and-talk Mediterranean maybe-romance.
Yes, they are some of the most critically acclaimed cinematic romances in decades. Yes, they represent the “little engine that could” in a creative system in which only big-budget popcorn flicks tend to get multiple sequels. Yes, they are an enjoyable departure from the current standard of overly frenetic, quick-cut filmmaking. But they are also the only films that strive — and succeed — to create a detailed and ongoing look at the female experience.