Bear with me, I shall compare this trilogy to Star Wars. The first movie established a premise, with flying colours despite, or perhaps because of, trope indulgences. They turn the tropes into something refreshing, much needed for their respective genres. The second movie uses what was great about the predecessor, for the creation of a cinematic masterpiece. The third movie finishes unfinished business, with satisfying results amid surprisingly weak moments. And much like Return of the Jedi, Before Midnight is the only film in the series that would struggle to stand on its own. The characters have grown older, wiser, and at the brink of midlife crises. A common theme in the trilogy is that Hawke and Delpy have open, non-judgmental, thought-provoking conversations, yet struggle to communicate how they feel in a direct manner. Before Midnight highlights the dark side to this. What if they actually need to be away from each other? More fruit for thought, only this time, it's at the expense of the same level of interest that was attained in previous movies. I don't believe it was bound to happen, but nevertheless, expect some of the usual relationship conflicts and miscommunication in most other romance films. Hawke and Delpy's commitment to their roles makes up for that greatly, and it's not that I don't believe the conflict on screen. Linklater's take on romance is refreshingly in touch with reality. I just had to make more of an effort to care, this time around.