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Julie Delpy and Ethan Hawke in 'Before Midnight'Image: Sony Pictures Classic

Julie Delpy and Ethan Hawke in 'Before Midnight'

The Most Resonant Marital Argument
Before Midnight
(Rated R for sexual content/nudity and language)

By God's grace, I've never had a marital argument quite like the one between Jesse and Celine during the second half of the third film in Richard Linklater's Before trilogy. But the physicality of the argument—the gestures of increasing interpersonal distance—are some of the most resonant I've seen in a film. In so many ways, this film follows through on how the way we understand the time we've been given will inevitably affect the way we love and hope to be loved. (Ken Morefield's review for CT.)

The One Movie I Wish Everyone Would See From 2013
The Past
(Rated PG-13 for mature thematic material and brief strong language)

I'm as convinced as ever that Asghar Farhadi is one of the greatest cinematic storytellers working today. In his follow up to the brilliant A Separation, the Iranian director picks up right where he left off with another captivating domestic drama. We often scoff at melodramas, but the great ones adeptly capture the emotional stakes embedded in social conditions. Considered in this way, The Past masterfully depicts how the histories of our relationships—particularly familial ones—often make for burdensome predicaments that entangle our daily lives in the present.

Nick Olson is Assistant Professor of English at Liberty University, and he writes on film for Christ and Pop Cultureand Filmwell. You can follow him at @Nicholas_Olson.

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