The first official trailer for Richard Linklater‘s Before Midnight (Sony Classics, 5.24) gets it just right. Just enough of a suggestion of what the film is without giving the game away. It lets you know that the writing and the performances are incisive and “real” and that the Greek-vacation atmosphere is to die for, and that it will hold your interest and lead you inward and down a path of deeper thoughts and richer feeling. What else do you want from a film?

Is there any critic of note who doesn’t love this film? It’s easily the best I’ve seen over the first quarter of 2013, and certainly a landmark marital relationship…I was going to say drama but it’s not really that. It’s an encounter, a voyage, an experience, a soul-baring, a marital afternoon & evening, a place to be and open up and wander around in.

“At first I wasn’t sure how much I agreed with the ravers about Richard Linklater‘s Before Midnight, the third (and final?) Ethan Hawke-Julie Delpy exploring-all-things relationship flick (following ’95′s Before Sunrise and ’05′s Before Sunset). I felt intrigued and highly stimulated by this deep-drill, naturally flowing talkfest…but not entirely sold.

“But everything changed with the final sequence of this Greece-set film — a one-on-one confrontation of ultimate marital truth in a hotel room (and then outside the hotel at the finale) lasting…oh, roughly 35 to 40 minutes. This is what brought it all home and convinced me that Before Midnight is not only the finest film of the 2013 Sundance Film Festival so far, but the crowning achievement of one of the richest and most ambitious filmed trilogies ever made.

“This final portion couldn’t be more primal. Every marriage and serious relationship in the history of post-’60s Western culture has had to deal with this stuff — the comfort of knowing your partner really, really well and the need to accept (and hopefully celebrate) all that he/she is, persistent divorced-parent guilt, the onset of pudgy bods and middle-aged sexuality, dashed expectations vs. the acceptance of real-deal trust and bonding, unfortunate eccentricity and craziness, fidelity, personal fulfillment vs. marriage fortification…the whole magillah.” — from my initial Sundance review.