Usually when characters age in movies, they're covered with makeup and outfitted with prosthetics — or directors use different actors as the characters grow older. But in the new film Boyhood, none of that is necessary.
The film takes place over the course of 12 years, and it was shot over the course of 12 years. So we watch the actors getting older for real, which gives their characters a sense of authenticity.
[Note: Before Midnight is an especially difficult movie to write about, simply because for some people, even what has become of Jesse and Celine since Before Sunset is information that they don't want. But it's impossible — absolutely impossible — to write about the movie without talking about where they stand and what the premise is. I did my absolute best to spoil as little beyond that as possible.
In 1995, an unintended cult-classic trilogy was born with a film that centered on a simple, romantic premise. Two strangers in their early 20s spend a spontaneous night together in Vienna. The characters, Jesse and Celine, split ways in Before Sunrise, but they reunited nine years later for a sequel, Before Sunset.
In that sequel, Jesse and Celine, played by Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy, find each other in Paris for another brief rendezvous. Even though both are now in other relationships, they can't shake their connection.