- Starring: Rashida Jones (The Social Network), Adam Samberg (I Love You, Man), Elijah Wood (Sin City) and more.
- Directed by: Lee Toland Krieger
- Synopsis: “Celeste (Rashida Jones) and Jesse (Andy Samberg) met in high school, married young and are growing apart. Now thirty, Celeste is the driven owner of her own media consulting firm, Jesse is once again unemployed and in no particular rush to do anything with his life. Celeste is convinced that divorcing Jesse is the right thing to do — she is on her way up, he is on his way nowhere, and if they do it now instead of later, they can remain supportive friends. Jesse passively accepts this transition into friendship, even though he is still in love with her. As the reality of their separation sets in, Celeste slowly and painfully realizes she has been cavalier about their relationship, and her decision, which once seemed mature and progressive, now seems impulsive and selfish. But her timing with Jesse is less than fortuitous. While navigating the turbulent changes in their lives and in their hearts, these two learn that in order to truly love someone, you may have to let them go.” (-Official Site)
- Rated: Rated R for language, drug use, and sexual content.
Having posted the synopsis above (which I hope you read) and the subsequent trailer (which I hope you watched), here are my thoughts on this independent romantic comedy that was co-written by its star Rashida Jones. (The movie was co-written, not this review) 😀
First, the not-so-good:
Celeste and Jesse Forever took forever to end. Even though in reality, the film is only an hour and a half, Celeste and Jesse’s heartache seems to carry on for eternity at points. However, that being the case can actually be a testament to the excellent and true portrayal of hardships in relationships that go through undefined and unexpected changes. (It’s a double-edged sword). The film could’ve ended before it did as it seems to wander in its direction and is fluffed with a few less than necessary scenes and dialogue. It SEEMED to go nowhere for a while and literally took For.Ev.Er. to get there.
The film also introduces a characters throughout and brings them back in recurring scenes, however none of them end up ultra-memorable or even all that likable. The movie lacks a reason to cheer on any one character in the film. While they are relatable (with characters ranging from the “always right” girlfriend who sets to divorce her husband/bestest friend and then gets bitten by the jealousy/lonely bug, to the best friend/advisor who probably watches too many advice talk shows, to the crazy, live-in-the moment friend whose drug-induced loose grip on reality adds a bit of comic relief), it is the relationship as opposed to the characters that begs for the most support of the audience which makes most of the events and people not involving the relationship to be seemingly secondary and unimportant.
Along with semi-unimportant characters, the film also carries some underplayed/unimportant subplots. They are of no particular consequence, but beg the question as to why they may have been included in the first place. i.e. Emma Roberts’ continuing yet underdeveloped story as a popstar.
Now, the good:
This romantic comedy is balanced in its amount of, well, romance and comedy! The chemistry between Samberg and Jones is genuine and quickly allows audiences to buy into all of their inside jokes, funny quirks, and struggles between one another.
In an awkward down-to-earth way, Jones and Samberg portray their characters quite impressively. They nail the reality of a relationship that anyone who has gone through a breakup or divorce can relate to. It’s nice to see Andy Samberg in a role in which his popular brand of comedy takes a backseat to drama and storytelling.In this rather authentic rom-com (which is a welcome site given the recent offerings of the redundant genre) both of the main characters are not ready or willing to accept and admit that their relationship is over, nor are they seemingly willing to define where their marital/romantic relationship ends and their ultra-close friendship begins…if at all.
It also brings audiences to entertain the question of whether or not a couple can continue to be close friends after a breakup and what the cost of insisting being right all the time can be. Celeste and Jesse are best friends, lovers, separated spouses, and, when their differing priorities and pursuit of different partners comes into play they find that the only approval they truly want is from each other. Playing off true human nature with the element of “you can’t have your cake and eat it too!”
I enjoyed Celeste & Jesse Forever. With some fun supporting actors to boot, Celeste & Jesse Forever is sappy and serious, heartwarming and heartwrenching, real and romantic, and genuinely good. A “dramedy” that borrows greatly from other seriously toned relationship films, yet brings enough variety and unpredictability (rare for rom-coms…perhaps this is better categorized as an “Anti Rom-Com.”) to be unique, much like relationships are in real life.
Score: 3.5 out of 5 stars for Celeste & Jesse Forever
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Thanks for reading! Happy Watching!
–T, The Focused Filmographer
up next: “Movie News Monday”