Jesse and Celeste Forever

Jesse and Celeste Forever

***1/2

A relationship that has gone bad is like a bandage taped to a hairy arm.

You know that it will eventually have to come off and you know that it won’t be pleasant.

The smart choice is to get rid of that bandage quickly, suck it up, and move on with your life. The foolish choice is to pull the tape away slowly, making the pain go on unnecessarily.

Another foolish break-up plan is to immediately become friends with your ex. It is not impossible to become friends, but it is unnecessary. Nobody is sitting around thinking: “If there is one thing I need, it is a new friend. A new friend who I simultaneously love and hate.”

Jesse (Andy Sandberg) and Celeste (Rashida Jones) are a married couple in Los Angeles who do not believe in my break-up rules. At least in the beginning.

When we meet Jesse and Celeste, they have been separated for six months. They both agree that they have grown apart. Celeste is a rising star at a showbiz publicity firm. Jesse watches television and hangs out with his weed dealer.

The divorce should be relatively easy. They don’t share much together. they don’t have kids. They don’t even have a dog. But Jesse and Celeste are making it extra hard on themselves by agreeing to be friends. Jesse is still living in the art studio in back of Celeste’s house. When they go out at night, they go out together in Celeste’s car.

Jesse and Celeste’s friends think that they are crazy and that the situation is just plain weird. Their friends are right.

“Jesse and Celeste Forever” is a smart, inspired drama about a realistic couple going through a slow, painful divorce.

The TV commercials make it seem like “Jesse and Celeste” is a just another cookie-cutter romantic comedy. But it absolutely isn’t. Hollywood romantic comedies follow a standard rubric:

The couple meet

They hook up and fall in love

Something causes them to fight and be apart for a while.

They reunite and live happily ever after

“Jesse and Celeste” tosses this formula in the trash where it belongs. The story isn’t predictable or contrived.

The film shows that dating during a divorce is not easy, but it is an essential part of the process of meeting new people and really giving your heart a chance to move on.

Frankly, I am not sure that the point of the movie is that a separating couple should not be friends. But I do know this: in the unfortunate event that I end up getting divorced, I will not be living in this house for very long.

Advertisements