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Ed Douglas (#110 of 2)

Poster Lab: Before Midnight

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Poster Lab: <em>Before Midnight</em>
Poster Lab: <em>Before Midnight</em>

The supposed capper to a richly rewarding trilogy, Richard Linklater’s Before Midnight already has plenty of critics buzzing, standing out as an early favorite for year-end top 10 lists. So it’s more than a little unsavory that of all the beguiled reviewers to turn to for poster quotes (and there are plenty), Sony Pictures Classics tapped the inescapable Peter Travers, a guy perpetually in line with the just-north-of-populist taste of awards bodies. On the film’s just-released poster, Travers’s praise reads as follows: “Before Midnight is one of the year’s best movies. Full to the brim with humor, heartbreak, and ravishing romance. Richard Linklater directs with ardor and artistry. Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy shine brilliantly. Heads up, Oscar. This one’s a keeper.” Now, anyone who knows anything about film publicity will quickly gather that the strategy here can be traced straight to that keyword: “Oscar.” Travers has long been known as an utterly shameless blurb whore, filling his reviews with Academy-courting nuggets, and that FYC turn of phrase surely landed him prime real estate here. But, really, Sony Pictures Classics should know better than to resort to such—in laughably alliterative, Travers-esque terms—baldfaced buffoonery. This is an exceedingly classy film with a handsome poster to boot. And since Linklater and stars Julie Delpy and Ethan Hawke netted an Original Screenplay nod for 2004’s Before Sunset, surely their next installment is already on the Academy’s radar. Couldn’t a more articulate endorsement have been chosen to grace the ad for this ultra-articulate movie?