Movie Review: Celeste and Jesse Forever

Since the minute I saw this trailer (months ago), I knew Celeste and Jesse Forever was an absolute must-see movie for me. The film has gotten solid reviews and I found that it more than lived up to all the hype and to my expectations (which is rare). It’s similar to one of my favorite movies, 500 Days of Summer, in that it’s almost an anti-love story: it’s not about falling in love, but rather about falling out of it. But whereas 500 Days of Summer always felt hopeful to me, even when things got bleak for Tom, this movie was a little more bitter than sweet. Celeste spirals way down, and it’s alternately amusing and painful to watch.

I initially found it difficult to get over the movie’s premise: Celeste and Jesse are getting divorced, but they still act like best friends. I was incredulous; nobody I know could go through a breakup like that and still be so close. As the movie went on, however, I started realizing that their friendship and little cutesy routines were masking some serious dysfunction. Underneath the veneer, they were like any other couple breaking up, and the film explores how they handle that situation in such an authentic way. Ultimately, I think that’s why the movie is so successful.

Celeste and Jesse Forever would be absolutely nothing without Rashida Jones as Celeste and Andy Samberg as Jesse. Both are amazing here. Rashida Jones is so good at conveying Celeste’s rapidly accelerating breakdown, hitting all the right notes – both comedic (the trash can scene!) and poignant (the wedding toast). And Andy freaking Samberg! Up until now, he was basically “the Lazy Sunday guy” to me, but that is a thing of the past. His role isn’t really comedic at all, which is surprising for him, and he’s just pitch perfect at portraying all the gut-wrenching emotional stuff.

While the movie belongs to Jones and Samberg, the rest of the cast was pretty stellar as well. First, Chris Messina. I don’t know if I’ve mentioned him before, but I love Messina and think he deserves to be super famous (he was great in Julie and Julia, and I’m 100% sure I will love him in the Mindy Project). He was also awesome in this movie, so lovably geeky. The rest of the supporting actors were great too: Elijah Wood (adorable), Emma Roberts (surprisingly good), and Ari Graynor (always hilarious).

Granted, I haven’t seen that many movies in 2012 so far, but this one is my favorite of the year so far. It’s really fantastic. Go see it.

My Grade: A

(Image via CNN)

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