Valentine’s Day seems to be one of those holidays that everyone would rather forget about, like Columbus Day or Lame Duck Day (which is a totally real holiday, according to this website). If you’re in a relationship, there’s unnecessary pressure to do something really exciting when you’d much rather just sit on the couch and watch “Law and Order” reruns. If you’re single, it’s just one blatant reminder after another that you’re aaalll alone. So this Valentine’s Day, I think we should all abstain from the typical romantic nonsense that we’ve come to consider commonplace and do something a little different…like watch a 4-year-old movie that was greatly under appreciated in its time.
What is that movie you ask? Why, it’s “Celeste and Jesse Forever,” a truly wonderful romantic dramedy of sorts starring perennial greats Rashida Jones and Andy Samberg. Jones and Samberg play the titular Celeste and Jesse, a couple in the process of getting a divorce who are desperately trying to maintain their close friendship. It’s not necessarily the traditional romantic movie – we see their whole romantic relationship play out quickly over the opening credits – instead it focuses on life after the big breakup, and what that can mean for two people who still want to be in each other’s lives, just not in the way they once were.
Jones co-wrote the movie with writing partner Will McCormack, who also co-stars in the movie as Jesse’s friend/weed dealer Skillz. Their writing feels very natural, like real people having real conversations. The jokes don’t feel too forced and the more dramatic moments come off as very genuine. These are people you know, people you relate to. The movie is also visually gorgeous, thanks to director Lee Toland Krieger. Every shot has this lovely kind of blue/gray haze over it. That description sounds weird but trust me, it works.
Jones and Samberg are both lovely as well. Jones is great in everything (if it wasn’t clear already, she’s one of my faves in the game), so I won’t get into that too much. Samberg really proves himself as more than just a comedic actor. He certainly has his fair share of goofy moments in the film that one would expect from one-third of The Lonely Island, but he really nails the more dramatic scenes as well.
Overall, the movie is a great detour from traditional cheesy romantic fare. It will certainly itch that scratch (if that’s a scratch you need itched), but it also offers a little more to chew on. If I’ve piqued your interest, or you already love the movie and just want to watch it again, it can be found on Amazon. I promise you, it will make an otherwise so-so Valentine’s Day exponentially better.
So what do you think? Have you seen “Celeste and Jesse Forever?” Have another movie like it that you want to recommend? Leave me a Valentine in the comments. And, as always…