Celeste and Jesse Forever.
This low-release romantic comedy features Andy Samberg (Saturday Night Live, The Lonely Island, That’s My Boy) and Rashida Jones (The Office, Parks and Recreation, and I Love You, Man) as a couple that is struggling to go through a divorce but attempting to remain best friends. It also stars Elijah Wood, Ari Graynor, and Eric Christian Olsen.
The basic gist is that Celeste (Jones) and Jesse (Samberg) fell in love in high school, got married, but now find themselves growing apart. They are still best friends but can they really move on?
I’m a sucker for films that focus on emotion and character, even if the journey is a painful one. That is especially true for this film. While it’s a tough ride, it’s extremely compelling and unfortunately realistic. Samberg and Jones are both believable and their chemistry is incredible, which makes the movie even more heartbreaking. With these comedic heavy-hitters, the movie is also infused with a Judd Apatow-like quality (most closely resembling his film Knocked Up). While the movie focuses on heartbreak and turmoil, it also cleverly looks at the situation from different perspectives, showing us how ridiculous our actions might look to the outside world. It’s in these moments that we’re allowed to laugh at the absurdity of the situation, before diving right back in.
The supporting cast is also pretty incredible, as they’re basically playing the “straight man” role to Samberg and Jones. The only real exception is newcomer to the big screen Will McCormack, who stars as weed dealer “Skillz.” I don’t think they ever said his name in the movie, I would laughed out loud. He steals the show when he’s around. I just saw an episode of Alphas on Netflix that featured him and now he’s here. Hopefully this break pays off!
Elijah Wood is also pretty great as Celeste’s (Jones) gay coworker that is still trying to get a grasp on what’s socially acceptable. Ari Graynor and Eric Christian Olsen star as another couple that has to watch this breakup and heartbreak happen. It’s often through these supporting characters that we get a new perspective on Celeste and Jesse’s relationship.
Often in movies like this, you expect a big payoff. It’s a rough adventure so if the ending of the movie doesn’t payoff, it’s all been for nothing. Well, in Celeste and Jesse Forever, I was satisfied with the ending. It may not be a surprise or extremely unique but the movie was aiming for a real depiction of heartbreak and the idea of trying to remain friends, and I feel like the closing moments nailed this realism on the head.
What didn’t work?
In films like this, there are moments where it lets you sit in what just happened. It’s quiet, it’s a little slow, and there are moments where you might catch yourself checking your watch. Luckily the movie was immersive enough for me that I enjoyed these moments where we could breathe. If you’re not totally into this movie, these moments might slow it down too much for you and you might lose interest. I enjoyed them though.
I really loved Celeste and Jesse Forever. I feel like most of you have probably attempted to remain friends with someone you’ve broken up with and this movie will likely play on your heartstrings. It’s realistic in how absurd people behave sometimes and the movie cleverly lets us experience these moments from within the absurdity and then also from outside. It’s a simple movie in plot but complex in emotion and if you can handle some moments where it slows down enough for us to truly experience everything it has to offer, you’ll likely leave the theater satisfied. It’s only playing in limited release, so I definitely encourage you to seek out the nearest theater showing it.