Oracle readers, consider yourselves warned: my review is going to get a little candid, a little emotive and a little nostalgic, just like the film I recently saw.
I was really excited to see “Celeste and Jesse Forever” during the Rosh Hashanah break. Surprisingly original premise? Yes. Andy Samberg taking on a serious role? Yes, please. Co-written by and co-starring my ultimate girl-crush, Rashida Jones? Absolutely.
I’m not sure if my enthusiastic expectations were met. I’m not even sure if I liked this film. I had an unsettlingly unprecedented experience with it, and I’m still pondering its effect on me.
I saw the film on Friday with my beloved, very loving boyfriend of a few blissful months. I couldn’t relate to it — it is, after all, about a downright depressing divorce, and I was wildly happy — and I deemed it a “watch-once-and-forget” type of film.
By Sunday, my wonderful boyfriend had broken up with me, for reasons I still can’t discern. Suddenly I was Jesse.
I wanted to watch the film again, this time in sad commiseration.
Prior to the film proper, Celeste (Jones) breaks up with Jesse (Samberg), her longtime best friend and husband of six years, for no apparent reason. Ok, yes, she is a self-made success, and slacker Jesse doesn’t even have a checking account. But when you look at their relationship at the film’s start, they just make sense together. They look at each other lovingly, they talk in silly voices, they ignore everyone else in the room…it’s all enchanting. It’s all quite familiar.
The rest of the film takes you through Celeste’s epiphany and its bittersweet, often pathetic results —she still loves Jesse, she can’t have him back (he’s having a baby with a one-night stand) and she’s a freaking mess because of it.
I think there’s a general consensus that films about crash-and-burn relationships (“Blue Valentine,” anyone?) are too depressing to be redemptive. I really, really disagree. Films like these are more necessary than we might realize.
This is not a film you go to for big laughs, and it’s not one you go to for big cries. It might not even be a film you go to for solace. But it’s truly relatable, and it offers the kinds of lessons that we need to be reminded of — because we always, always forget them.
One of the more important lessons — one that I embrace readily — is the one we see in Celeste’s breakdown. As she watches Jesse move on, she realizes that love can’t simply be shed, like she seemed to believe at the beginning of the film. You can pretend to forget about it, deny it like crazy, act like it’s all in the past, but it stays with you. Forever.