REVIEW: ‘Celeste & Jesse Forever’

 

When the trailer for C&J Forever was released I turned it off at the half way mark. I just stopped caring. It looked like another one of those hipster romantic comedies that are neither romantic nor comedic. The trailer, for me, made it seem like this movie talked down to the audience. “Ya, we’re not another one of those stupid romantic comedies staring Kate Hudson! We’re young, we’re hip, and we’re smarter than those movies”. Maybe I’m over exaggerating and I’m the only one who felt that way. But then everything changed when I kept hearing really good things about it and I thought why not? And after the rollercoaster of a summer we’ve had, Celeste & Jesse ended up being exactly the kind of movie I needed.

Celeste & Jesse Forever is a movie we’ve seen countless times, and it bares a striking resemblance to a personal favourite of mine (one that not a lot of people like) called The Break-Up. But where The Break-Up made the audience feel awkward and uncomfortable, Celeste & Jesse bypasses that and provides a normal couple going through normal problems…just minus all that screaming. Again, I am one of the few who enjoys the honesty and awkwardness of The Break-Up. We’ve all been there. But we’ve also all been there with Celeste & Jesse and the film allows you to relate in the same way, but also watch the movie with a smile on your face the whole time.

The film stars Andy Samberg and Rashida Jones, two people I’ve never been totally convinced have the IT factor, especially to make the transition to film. The film slightly altered my opinion, but only a little bit because I feel as though both are being forced upon us. Andy Samberg gives a very solid performance as Jesse. I was surprised by how good he was. But, with that said, I don’t know if we need Andy Samberg The Film Star. The same can be said for Rashida Jones, except she absolutely shines throughout the entire movie and provides a convincing case why she does have IT. She is funny, engaging and heartbreaking. She gives such a finely tuned performance, something I also didn’t expect. The performances from the entire cast carry the film (Elijah Wood is the scene stealer), but the film’s strongest asset is the script written by Rashida Jones. The script accurately depicts the generation and genders at the center of the film, dissects a misguided relationship in a relatable and funny way and the dialogue is just so sharp. It’s like Like Crazy but instead of mumbling for 90 minutes, there is an actual plot! With words!

The film is also beautifully shot and perfectly depicts L.A without it feeling so L.A, if that makes sense. The film is well directed and also boasts a well-selected soundtrack. The film stumbles along the way, though. I found the entire storyline with Emma Roberts’ “Ke$ha” like character a bit distracting and uninteresting and Roberts’ plays the wrong angle. C&J’s relationship also becomes a little too Ross & Rachel-y as we near the end of the film but it does keep you guessing if they are going to end up together or not.

Celeste & Jesse is the perfect, light, smart and funny indie summer comedy you’re looking for. Like Moonrise Kingdom & Take This Waltz, the film perfectly captures human emotion and how affecting romance can be. The film is filled with fine performances and a fantastic showcase for writer and star Rashida Jones. It’s simply a film that makes you feel things and puts a smile on your face. One of this year’s standout films, for me.

 

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