A divorcing couple tries to maintain their friendship while they both pursue other people. (IMDB)
Writers: Rashida Jones, Will McCormac
Director: Lee Toland Krieger
Stars: Philip Seymour Hoffman, Joaquin Phoenix and Amy Adams
Runtime/Rating: 92 Minutes/R
Popcorn Score: Large Popcorn
Popcorn Movie Review doesn’t visit the prototypical “Romantic Comedy” department too often. I typically find the movies to be neither romantic nor comedic. “Celeste and Jesse Forever” perhaps fits into the category, but is anything but the prototypical rom-com. It is a story that feels very real and believable, and possesses the qualities mentioned above that other movies in the genre often don’t.
Celeste and Jesse are a recently separated married couple who have been together forever and married for the past 6 years. They’re decision, or more Celeste’s, to divorce is a shock to all of their friends because they have never appeared as anything but happy and in love. They are a likeable couple that can seem to make any situation fun and funny. They will carry on in goofy voices or with inside jokes that will amuse them both equally for however long they wish. The only theoretical wedge that divides them is Celeste’s belief that there is someone better that should be her lifelong companion and father of her children. She suffers from a bit of “the grass is always greener…” syndrome. She is a successful business women working for a San Francisco based company that focus on talent marketing and culture’s popular trends. He is a somewhat lazy and passive out of work man-child.
Their post marriage friendship seems as if it might actually work until Jesse is given some completely unexpected news. It is the type of news that forces the pair to face the tough decisions that seemed inevitable. The movie is very honest in showing the struggles, difficulties, relapses, and conversations that would go on as a relationship like this is ending. It is often sad, although maintains light and entertaining feeling throughout.
Rashida Jones co-wrote the script along with Will McCormack who also plays in the film as the pot growing mutual friend of the couple. They fill the story with great supporting characters that assist with the reality of the story rather than provide unfunny “comedic” relief like in other movies of the genre. All of the performances are also above the curve for this type of movie; with a new element occasionally being shown from SNL funny man Andy Samberg.
If Celeste and Jesse forever is indeed a Romantic Comedy it is without a doubt a cut above the rest.