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Review: Celeste and Jesse Forever

December 3, 2012

Film + Entertainment | by Francesco Cerniglia

Just so you know, Celeste and Jesse Forever is not your regular Hollywood romantic comedy. It’s an indie film discussing a very real relationship pattern thriving in the 21st century. A story we’re not unfamiliar with, Rashida Jones and Will McCormack tackle the emotional journey of a love lost in failed marriage. Brilliantly written with a packed cast, you can’t help but get teary-eyed with this charming tale.

Celeste (Rashida Jones) and Jesse (Andy Samberg) are best friends who decide to get married, but realise they’re not meant to be together and separate. Although they may be out of love in the intimate sense, the couple still does practically everything together, as well as sharing a home, just with separate beds. Their friends Beth (Ari Graynor) and Tucker (Eric Christian Olsen) can’t deal with their we’re together-but-not-together problem and want them to make a solid decision. They’re one of those couples that are way too comfortable with each other that they make everyone else feel queasy… and just to make things more awkward, they’re not together – so what’s going on?

Although we may not see it this way, breaking up with a best friend is way more difficult than breaking up with someone you date. The problem is in the fact that you never stop loving a friend the way you can fall out of love with an intimate partner. Add in some unstable bits of work life and you’re over the edge. Basically, Celeste can’t imagine him as the father to her child because he’s not successful enough to stand equally beside her. Instead, she keeps him at an arm’s reach, giving him a roof over his head and babying him like her own puppy. We slowly watch Celeste break down as her punching bag finally grows some legs and she’s left on her own to figure things out.

My favourite aspect of the film is how they employ new relationships after a divorce, giving both Celeste and Jesse moments to discover themselves without one another. Jesse reluctantly goes looking for a new mate and finally gets off his butt to do something for himself rather than tagging along with whatever Celeste spoon-feeds him. In contrast, Paul (Chris Messina) hits on Celeste at a yoga class who she judges immediately as one of those dirt-bags that go to yoga classes just to hit on girls. As they get to know each other better he sheds some light on her control-freak personality. He says, “You want to be right or you want to be happy?” Being totally guilty of this habit myself, Celeste’s character is just so bang-on with the modern city girl and her constant struggle for the perfect life.

But beyond all the touching almost-too-real drama, the movie is pretty hilarious. You’ll love Will McCormack playing a drug dealer named Skillz that reveals a lot of truth about relationships while in a state of mental clarity. Emma Stone plays a spoiled pop star that still manages to get hurt from boys no matter how high her celebrity status gets. All in all, Celeste and Jesse Forever is a complicated mess of a bunch of awkward moments that eventually tie together to reveal the blunt truth that all anyone really wants is to be happy. How we get there is where the real fun is at.

Amanda Chen.