Love me tender – Richard Linklater’s three-part romance (The BEFORE Trilogy) heads to the Criterion Collection


Preston Barta // Editor

Rated R, 290 minutes.
Director: Richard Linklater
Cast: Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy
Available Tuesday (2/28) on Blu-ray and DVD through the Criterion Collection.

An American man and a French woman in their early 20s meet on a training traveling through Europe. They stop and shoot the breeze in Vienna for some time before they part ways.

Each of the plots in the BEFORE trilogy could be written on a sticky note. However, Richard Linklater (EVERYBODY WANTS SOME!!, BOYHOOD) has never been a filmmaker to concern himself too much with plot.

While each of the films have their own individual arcs (all set nine years apart), it’s the free flowing, natural conversations between the two leads (Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy) that cement these films as one of the most romantic and realistic love stories to ever be put on celluloid.

Now, for the first time, all three chapters (BEFORE SUNRISE, BEFORE SUNSET, and BEFORE MIDNIGHT) are available on Blu-ray, with a beautiful 2K digital transfer. And what better home distributor to make it happen than the Criterion Collection, with their director approved packaging and loaded bonus materials?

If you’re a Criterion collector, or a movie collector in general, The BEFORE Trilogy is a seamless collection to own. Not only is it fun to hang out with these characters across nearly 20 years, but their dialogue also contains many nuggets of wisdom for anyone who’s in a relationship, no matter what stage.

Celine (Julie Delpy) and Jesse (Ethan Hawke) share a moment in BEFORE SUNRISE, the first in the three-part romance. Courtesy of the Criterion Collection.


  • New, restored 2K digital transfers of BEFORE SUNRISE and BEFORE SUNSET and a 2K digital master of BEFORE MIDNIGHT, approved by director Richard Linklater, with 2.0 surround DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack on the BEFORE SUNRISE Blu-ray and 5.1 surround DTS-HD Master Audio soundtracks on the BEFORE SUNSET and BEFORE MIDNIGHT Blu-rays
  • New discussion featuring Linklater and actors Julie Delpy and Ethan Hawke, moderated by critic Kent Jones
  • Behind-the-scenes footage and interviews from the productions of BEFORE SUNRISE and BEFORE SUNSET
  • Audio commentary on BEFORE MIDNIGHT by Delpy, Linklater, and Hawke (if you haven’t listened to this before when BEFORE MIDNIGHT was released on Blu-ray, now is the time; it’s very good)
  • RICHARD LINKLATER: DREAM IS DESTINY (our SXSW review here), a well-made feature-length 2016 documentary by Louis Black and Karen Bernstein
  • AFTER BEFORE, a new documentary by Athina Rachel Tsangari about the making of BEFORE MIDNIGHT in Greece
  • New conversation between scholars Dave Johnson and Rob Stone about Linklater’s work
  • Episode of the radio program Fresh Air featuring host Terry Gross, Linklater, Delpy, and Hawke
  • LINKLATER // ON CINEMA & TIME, a 2016 video essay by filmmaker :: kogonada
  • PLUS: An essay on the trilogy by critic Dennis Lim
About author

Preston Barta

I have been working as a film journalist since 2010, dividing the first four years between radio broadcasting and entertainment writing in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex. In 2014, I entered Fresh Fiction ( as the features editor. The following year, I stepped into the film critic position at the Denton Record-Chronicle, a daily North Texas print publication. My time is dedicated to writing theatrical film reviews, at-home entertainment columns, and conducting interviews with on-screen talent and filmmakers, as well as hosting a podcast devoted to genre filmmaking (called My Bloody Podcast). I've been married for seven happy years, and I have one son who is all about dinosaurs just like his dad.