Celeste and Jesse Forever is destined to be considered this generation’s When Harry Met Sally. No, it is not that same movie by far (and not as good, but that is only because WHMS is the quintessential romantic-comedy, duh). But it shares the same heart, humor and longing for the two titular characters to be a part of our lives and our wanting them to succeed in every way, especially love (sad, I know). If you’re a sucker for a good rom-com laced with big laughs and small, completely concealable tears (seriously, no one saw) like I am, then Celeste and Jesse Forever is a must see. And if none of that is the case, then you’re a guy whose girlfriend will make you watch it anyway.
Celeste and Jesse are an odd couple to say the least. Well, they’re not really a couple, but rather two people going through a divorce that still hang out everyday and enjoy it. That last part gets me – when does anyone ever actually mean it when they say “but we can still be friends”? We the audience, are not alone in this matter though, because their friends agree that its pretty freaking strange. However, Celeste and Jesse are perfect for one another, from casual light-hearted conversations in stereotypical European accents, to masturbating a stick of lip balm (trust me, its charming). Good things never last though, so when Jesse is convinced to start seeing other people, the film begins its masterful balancing act of an emotionally driven story with laugh-out-loud, modernly honest dialogue.
Andy Sandberg, as Jesse, delivers a performance that any fan of his SNL or film career should be surprised by. Sure, he’s up to the same childish antics that make him Andy Sandberg, but when it comes to the dramatic scenes – scenes that don’t guarantee one of his boyishly charismatic smiles – he really shines as a serious actor. However, it is Rashida Jones as Celeste that captures the film. She has been great in television shows like Parks and Recreation and The Office, but she hasn’t had much to shine in as far as Hollywood goes. Perhaps its because she co-wrote the script (along with Will McCormack who plays Skillz, a mutual, drug dealing friend of Celeste and Jesse’s) and created a character that she could own – and honestly, she did own the role. I hope the bigwigs take notice of her true acting talent – and writing, too.
Director Lee Toland Krieger is one filmmaker to keep your eye on. His 2009 film, The Vicious Kind, was one of my favorites of the year, also starring a Parks and Recreation alum and generally comedic actor, Adam Scott. Krieger’s talent seems to be capturing brave performances in an atmosphere of infidelity and love lost. Together he and cinematographer, David Lanzenberg, paint Los Angeles beautifully. Celeste and Jesse Forever is one of the best-photographed films I’ve seen this year.
The film’s pace can be jarring – switching back and forth from comedy to drama – and it can make the 89 minute running time feel longer. But I don’t care. Life is jarring and does the same switching constantly. I actually wish the film were longer to be honest, because I wasn’t ready to let Celeste and Jessie go. And it’s a shame this film is as of right now a limited release, because I know it will have a popular life on DVD and Blu-ray. Oh well. Like I said, you’ll see it.