Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Celeste and Jesse Forever [2012]

MPAA (R)  Roger Ebert (3 1/2 Stars) Fr. Dennis (4 Stars)

IMDb listing
Roger Ebert's review

Celeste and Jesse Forever (directed by Lee Toland Krieger, written by Rashida Jones and Will McCormack) is a well-written/crafted/acted film about a young couple in their late 20s/early 30s that's divorcing.  As such, folks, though often funny, this film is not really a comedy, nor (look at its theme...) is it not exactly a "date movie," certainly not a light one.  Still, for a serious couple it's probably worth seeing.

Celeste (played by Rashida Jones) and Jesse (played by Andy Samberg) had been together "forever," certainly all through college (and if I recall correctly, even before).  Yet, sometime before actual story of the film had started, Celeste, a writer and "social trend analyst" had become sufficiently disappointed with Jesse (a commercial artist of sorts) to ask for a divorce.

Perhaps like many couples today, she was definitely "moving (up)" and "knew where she wanted to go," while he was "kinda stagnant" but "happy where he was."  In a telling scene near the beginning of the film, Celeste comes home from work flush from feeling GREAT that her book "Sheitgheist - The Death of American Culture" was about to go the stores, and she finds Jesse in the garage (which the two had previously converted into his studio and where he still lived) sitting on a couch with a beer in his hand watching taped highlights of the "super heavyweight weight lifting competition" from still the 2008 Beijing Olympics (!!) -- Folks it's 2012 and the London Games just took place... -- still doing (for himself) the "German accented sports commentary" that in the past (like around 2008 ...) both Celeste and Jesse probably would have found hilarious.  It's clear that Jesse probably liked things back then and probably hasn't done a lot of "heavy lifting" since then, and Celeste, well ... "has moved on..."

But before beating up Jesse too much, let's underline something key in the film -- Jesse's basically happy (ultimately with or without her...) though he adds to his own problems over the course of the story (but always somehow with a smile), it's Celeste who's the unhappy one.  My hat off to Jones and Mc Cormak who wrote the screenplay.  It's a very interesting insight into many male/female relationships today.

Much, of course, ensues.  The supporting cast -- played by Ary Graynor / Eric Christensen, Elijah Wood / Emma Roberts, Chris Messina / Rebecca Dayan and Will McCormack / Kate Krieger -- is _excellent_.

It makes for a great story ... just, well, kinda sad ... but then look back again at what it's about.  But good job all around!

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