Richard Linklater‘s Before Midnight has been let out of the bag, and the early reactions I’ve seen are almost entirely ecstatic, with hardly a person in sight left disappointed by the eagerly awaited follow-up to the writer-director’s universally acclaimed Before Sunrise and Before Sunset. The number of people actually surprised by the uproar of praise that’s greeted the film after its first official Sundance screening is probably just as low, though it’s still hard not to breathe a sigh of relief at the widespread satisfaction, especially considering how suddenly the project’s completion was made known to us all.

ThePlaylist has kindly brought us four new images from the film (one of which is pictured above), and, while I’m sure these won’t quell most folks’ anticipation for more than a couple of minutes, it’s just a wonderful breath of fresh air to see Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy sharing the screen again; they do, indeed, look entirely at home in these soothing, soft-as-a-feather stills. Here’s a quick reminder of the film’s story: “Shot on the sly in Greece last summer, the picture catches up with Celine (Delpy) and Jesse (Hawke) nine years later, as once again they use a portion of the day to reignite their relationship.” There’s also this intriguing little nugget, stated by Hawke himself: “The biggest change between this one and the last one is the Internet.”

By now, you already know how much we’re gnawing at the walls to get a look at Before Midnight — the film cracked the #8 slot on Our 100 Most-Anticipated Films of 2013 list, and would, perhaps, even be a bit higher now that we know it has supposedly lived up to the lofty expectations. With that in mind, there’s little more that can be said at this point, though we’ll likely have more reports and reactions pertaining to the film as Sundance rolls along, so be sure to keep checking back.

Do you have any thoughts on these images? Has the early Sundance reaction impacted your anticipation of the film?

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