|I like to credit photos I use, but I don't know where this one is from. Sorry!|
The very title Celeste and Jesse Forever sends a scent of Nic and Nora’s Infinite Playlist to your nose...and then you realize that this is no Michael Cera flick. This is a movie for adults—adults who are still getting their hearts broken in the exact same way they did when they were 16. While the title sounds whimsical and lofty, this is anything but a lighthearted comedy. Yes, you will laugh until you pee a little bit. And yes, you will be privy to more witty banter than you’d expect during an evening with Tina Fey..but be forewarned, people…this movie is not for the faint of heart, especially the already-broken-not-quite-healed-ones.
Celeste (Rashida Jones) and Jesse (Andy Samberg) have known each other forever. They are your friendly neighbors who beat all the odds placed against us in this cold, gray “Jersey Shore” world. Their lives are perfection. They have the perfect house, marriage, and well-behaved dog that you can imagine without getting into Stepford territory. They know everything about one another. The chemistry between Jones and Samberg is so real that you want this to be reality television and for them to feel this way in real life. When kismet like this happens in a movie you begin to wonder if your lover could ever know you as these two know each other. The answer to that is a resounding No! Nope. No one does. It’s not reality. But it is cinematic.
Celeste and Jess meet in 8th grade and marry young. After several years, Celeste realizes Jesse, as much as he listens to her and makes her laugh, is never going to get his shit together and get a real job. They amicably divorce. The divorce is so amicable, that they remain living in the same house, going out with their same friends, and being each other’s BFFs. It’s sort of weird. Who does that? Who divorces and still goes out for pizza? I’ll tell you who—two people who realize the value of the other, two people who still love each other and two people who aren't sure when to let go. I’ve been there. It doesn’t end well. Jesse would take Celeste back in a heartbeat (and helping her build her IKEA dresser at 2 in the morning shows his dedication). And, she sort of enjoys the power she has over him…not in a diabolical way, but in a way that we all really understand. It’s the way all we humans hope our exes still feel about us. It’s always easier being the one who is loved more in a relationship, isn’t it? Then you hold the power. And while Celeste is adorable and kind and funny and charming, she’s also a powerhouse at her job, ambitious, and on the fast track of life. Jesse, she thinks, drags her down. Where is her ambition equal?
During the midst of separation, Jesse has a one-night stand with a beautiful Belgian woman because this is what men naturally do when they divorce. They also don’t use protection and Ms. Belgian becomes pregnant. Then they get remarried to the Belgian beauty. Jesse suddenly realizes he has a child on the way. He starts to grow up. He starts to work. He starts to be responsible. He starts to become everything that Celeste always wanted him to be, except now he’s being that person with someone else.
There are many heart-wrenching scenes throughout the film, and they get more painful as the film goes on. Moments when you are laughing, crying, cringing and then suddenly hitting the person next to you and telling them to turn off the screen because your heart can’t take it any more.
Ultimately, this film is about knowing when to let someone out of your life and when to keep them. We’ve all been there. It’s a little sad. Shit, it’s really sad. It’s the color blue. It makes you want to go and sit on your ex-boyfriend’s porch until he realizes you really were supposed to be together and the music swells and everything feels right again as you French kiss. It makes you question every break up you’ve ever had. It makes you realize you probably did have to let them go and move on and that yeah, everything turns out the way it should (what other choice is there?)
Rashida Jones is simply the leading lady. Having been deemed by Hollywood as supporting lady material, Jones went out, wrote a script and cast herself as the star. This made my like of her turn into all out girl-love. She’s my kind of woman. Just like Kirsten Wig’s big breakout in Bridesmaids, Jones shows us she’s more than just second fiddle to Pam from The Office. She’s truly the heart and soul of this film.
So go! See it! I met the director and he was really hot and smart and a bit dark and sort of edgy and pulled off a gray beanie, gray peacoat, and gray pants while looking like a ray of hot sunshine. Et voila.
p.s. If you’re going through a divorce or you are not over your divorce, do not go see this unless you like being that guy huddled in a corner…sobbing.