Celeste and Jesse Forever - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Celeste and Jesse Forever Reviews

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Super Reviewer
August 1, 2012
An enjoyable rom-com that finds itself smarter and more insightful than it really is, but still it benefits from a great chemistry between the adorable leads - and Jones proves that she is quite talented enough to carry a film on her shoulders.
Super Reviewer
½ July 26, 2012
There are very few romantic dramedies that grab my attention, even though I love that genre. There are just not that many great films that come from it. Again, it's not the best in it's genre, but "Celeste and Jesse Forever" is an enjoyable enough movie, due to it's performances by Andy Samberg and Rashida Jones. They are great together and for once, Andy Samberg was not annoying in any way. I really liked their chemistry and where the story took them, whether it be apart or together by the end, that really didn't matter to me, because the film played out very naturally. It is well-written and has a very sweet sentimental tone under it. I am a huge fan of indie films, mainly because that is where the creative minds are these days. There is a great movie in here somewhere for sure, but I feel like there was a bit of wasted potential and the movie has too broad of an ending for my liking. Overall, I really enjoyed it, but many things bugged me.
Super Reviewer
½ May 17, 2014
Not bad. Not one to watch over and over, but good for a one off watch.
Super Reviewer
April 22, 2013
Wanted to really like this, but the longer I sat through it, the more I wondered why the audience is supposed to care about, and invest the time in, this couple's story. I didn't find it funny, or sweet. I found this script weak. Not a terrible movie, just nothing that I would recommend to anyone.
Super Reviewer
March 4, 2013
review soon...
Super Reviewer
August 13, 2012
Funny here and there, compelling story arc, but never quite settles into a groove. Rashida Jones was spectacular, though, so may be worth the watch.
Super Reviewer
February 27, 2013
Here's a fresh anti-romantic dramady, that doesn't follow any normal conventions or cliches. "Celeste and Jesse Forever" is the story of best friends(Rashida Jones and Andy Samberg play the titled couple) who are six months into a separation/divorce and struggle with letting each other go. They remain best friends and involved with each other, until it's revealed that Jesse has gotten another girl pregnant and wants to make it work with her. From there the friendship is strained, and Celeste is left looking for direction in her own life as Jesse moves on. It's very interesting with a few very funny moments throughout. Samberg isn't annoying like is in some of his movies, instead he's very likable and relatelable in this. The movie has a good pace at 90 minutes and always feels like something "new". Give it a shot, good watch.
Super Reviewer
February 6, 2013
For anyone who has to break up with their best friend.

Very good movie! "Celeste and Jesse Forever" takes a fairly standard romantic comedy concept and fine tunes it for more indie-minded audiences. This is not to suggest that the plotting or characterizations are any less manufactured; it simply means that the film is overall quirkier, subtler, and not as easily attracted to the idea of a fairytale ending. I liked the title characters, although for most of the film, I struggled to empathize with them, in large part because they persisted in being so caviler about their feelings for each other. Although Celeste is a right fighter and control freak, and although Jesse has the emotional maturity of a five-year-old, they're both in denial about the reality of the separation and lack the courage to admit that they really do belong together. Essentially, the film is a cautionary tale of not taking relationships for granted. For Celeste, it's a journey towards relinquishing control and accepting the mistakes she has made. For Jesse, it's about realizing that he has made his bed and now has to lay in it. Both changes come about as the result of a plot twist that actually hasn't been given away in the ad campaign. The film is told more through Celeste's point of view and it's nice to see a romantic comedy that seems true to life and revolves around the woman having a mental breakdown rather than the guy. There's something special in "Celeste and Jesse," however, some rare ability to see the humor in the personally tragic, the potential for levity and irony in any situation. The emotional place that these two best friends arrive at in the end might not be as satisfying as that in a strong romance or rom-com, nor as poetic as in a tragedy, but with its playful disposition, it manages to carve out a place that's different, one that stands out from the pack just enough.

Celeste and Jesse have been best friends forever. They dated in high school, got married, and now they're getting divorced. Their best friends don't think they can maintain their friendship throughout the dissolution of their marriage, but Celeste and Jesse don't think there will be a problem. But that's before Jesse gets into a relationship that Celeste doesn't think he can handle, and Celeste finds it harder to move on than she originally thought.
Super Reviewer
½ August 2, 2012
Cute little flick
Super Reviewer
July 18, 2012
Certainly not formulaic, or ably put into a specific genre (whether romantic comedy, dramedy, or a variation) "Celeste and Jesse Forever" is quite possibly one of the best romantic films of the year, and surely one of the funniest. Starring and written by Rashida Jones and writing partner Will McCormack, this film is date night perfection, heartbreaking and yet so hilarious and real, it's a far cry from the trailer which heralded it as a romantic slosh through the lives of a married couple unable to let go. Most of the time it's about Celeste, navigating the horrible journey from repressed divorcee and best friend to her ex, to broken woman, and finally finding herself outside of her past, outside of her own mistakes. The characters are all vaguely if not intrinsically interesting, and the humor ranges from bro comedy and gross out humor at times to black comedy surrounding the embarrassing escapades Celeste gets herself into. There is certainly art, there's a broad approach to character development, and an actual respect for what the characters need to do to accomplish their goals. There's never a time when the plot wins out and makes the characters do things uncharacteristic of what we've seen so far. The shots of the city are majestic, sallow, wide and approachable, as if we're there in Los Angeles and Boston. Some of the outside characters do come off as rather unnecessary at times. Skillz, who is portrayed by screenwriter Will McCormack, only exists to tie together the estranged couple and add his own bits of insight into Jesse's challenges over getting over his ex-wife. Riley, played by Emma Roberts, is a pop star who is represented by Celeste's firm, and is the only reminder to the film that this is a romantic comedy. She's so formulaic and annoying as the insightful and yet so young protégé with a filthy mouth of her own, that it's strange that she exists. She could disappear and nothing would change. Seriously, a must see for the year, because though you may dislike the genre, this certainly transcends it, difficult especially for an indie movie.
Super Reviewer
½ July 31, 2012
No, Celeste, simple and elegant is good. It's better than what you have here.
Super Reviewer
October 13, 2012
Two friends break up as lovers, but they find that moving on is harder than it seems.
When I went to see this film, I couldn't help but compare it to Breaking Upwards, which has essentially the same plot. But the problem with Breaking Upwards was that the characters found moving on superficially easy, and the characters were never called into question in any serious way. Celeste and Jesse Forever improves on this flaw. We realize Jesse's problems quickly: he needs to grow up, and since Judd Apatow has covered this territory so thoroughly that any other story about men needing to take responsibility would seem like a tired cliche, Celeste dominates the second act. Her flaws are less obvious. She seems to have it all together, but having it all together makes her indomitable, with an air of superiority that makes her unapproachable. Rashida Jones plays the nuances of this character well, and the film isn't afraid to make her unattractive.
I agree with Super Reviewer Alice Shen who stated, "Jesse's 0 (still being "in love" with Celeste and too-scared-to-let-go booty calls) to 60 (having a baby and wanting to make it work with someone he just met) transformation is just too inexplicable." She's right, but there are nevertheless a lot of strengths to how sharply these characters are drawn; Jones shows herself to be a very good writer.
Overall, I liked Celeste and Jesse Forever, a romantic comedy with more brains than many in its genre.
Nate Z.
Super Reviewer
September 6, 2012
Celeste (Rashida Jones) and Jesse (Andy Sandberg) have been best friends ever since high school, the couple everyone admired. They've been married for six years but now they are in the middle of divorce proceedings. Why? Celeste loves her longtime best friend but worries he's not maturing or stable to be her marriage partner. During their separation, Jesse admits he's found another woman whom he cares about. Celeste professes to be happy but deep down is troubled, second-guessing her decision now that there's a real threat she might lose Jesse. The two buds act like nothing has changed, goofing around and paling it up, but how long can they keep up this façade? Eventually, someone is going to get hurt because divorce cannot be shrugged off. Reality has a way of outliving ironic detachment.

Can you remain best friends with someone you once loved? How about someone you once knew as your spouse? Celeste and Jesse are certainly trying but their idealistic "BFF" status seems destined to meet a harsh reality. Celeste and Jesse Forever is labeled as a "loved story" and I think that's a pretty apt description. These two characters clearly have a deep affection for one another, but after six years the feelings just aren't enough. What happens when you marry your best friend but that just isn't enough? I was hoping for some greater answers from the movie, or at least a harder examination on why some relationships fall apart when things look like they should work. That's not exactly what the movie offers. For a film with an aim to be more realistic about the fallings out of love, the movie follows a familiar formula. There's the cute guy at yoga (Chris Messina) into Celeste, but first she has to get settled. I think I wouldn't have minded this character if he didn't feel so much like a plot device, a hasty happy ending meant to be put in a holding pattern until called upon. The "Jesse" half of the title will be gone for lengthy chunks of the movie. His portrayal also borders on simplistic. I wish we got more of his side of the relationship, especially since he's going through sudden change himself. After seeing the trailer, I thought I was going to find the movie immensely relatable. Maybe I just got all the recognizable personal drama out of my system with The Five-Year Engagement (double feature for bitter lovers?).

Fortunately, the movie is also fairly funny. The comedy can feel a tad sitcomish at times with misunderstandings and catching people in embarrassing situations. The screenplay by Jones and co-star Will McCormack (TV's In Plain Sight) is routinely amusing, settling with soft chuckles rather than anything histrionic. It fits the subdued tone of the movie, since it's about people coming to terms with messy emotions and not whacky mishaps. Then there's a whole subplot involving a teen pop star (Emma Roberts) that feels recycled from a whole other movie. This storyline leads to a few good jokes but it doesn't seem to add anything of value to the plot. The comedy doesn't overcompensate for the dramatics, and Celeste and Jesse Forever finds a nice tonal balance between the heartache and humor. I wouldn't say the film is necessarily quirky but it certainly operates to an offbeat comedic rhythm. There are a few cringe-worthy editions but the characters and the actors make it worth any personal discomfort.

If Jones (TV's Parks and Recreation) needs a good boyfriend I will gladly volunteer my services. My God this woman is beautiful. I don't want to set off any alarm bells, but this woman is a goddess. She's also extremely talented and a naturally charming presence. Her chemistry with Sandberg (That's My Boy) is out of this world. They are so relaxed together, no amiable, so enjoyable, that it really does come as a shock when their unamused friends have to sternly remind them they are getting a divorce. They have a wealth of in-jokes and secret couple codes, and they're so cute together that you wonder if maybe, just maybe, they'll reconcile by the end. Sanberg is better than I've ever seen him, giving a strong, heartfelt performance as a nice guy trying to make sense of his eroding situation. But this movie is Jones' movie, and she shines. While her facial expressions can get a little overly animated at times (TV-ish mannerisms?), this movie is a terrific showcase for her dramatic and comedic talents. This woman will excite you, frustrate you, break your heart, make you laugh, but you'll be glued to the screen.

The tricky part is that Celeste is both our protagonist and antagonist. She is the root of her own unhappiness, and coming to terms with the fact that she was wrong is a big moment of personal growth, however, it's not exactly the direction audiences may be happy with. It's harder to root for a character that is sabotaging her own progress. Jessie, especially as played by Sandberg, is pretty much an adorable puppy dog throughout the whole movie; it's hard to stay upset with him, and occasionally Celeste will lead him on and then punish him for following. She tells him to move on but then pulls him back to her when he threatens to do just that. She chastises him for not being serious enough, for not having direction, yet you get the impression throughout the movie that Celeste bares some responsibility in this situation as well. Jesse is laid back, though hardly the arrested development slackers dotting most of modern comedy these days. As one character notes, perhaps Celeste enjoyed keeping her husband grounded, limited, stuck. I don't chalk it up as malice, more a comfortable situation that Celeste is afraid to disrupt. She's the overachiever, he's the underachiever, they compliment one another, that is, until Celeste decides they don't. Then when it looks like Jesse's growing up, she wants him back, or thinks she does, at least this newer version of Jesse. As you can see, it's complicated. At no point would I dismiss Celeste as a callous person, but the movie is tethered to her personal growth of being able to admit fault. Her window with Jesse has passed. The movie is about her journey to realizing that.

Celeste and Jesse Forever feels like a movie of small waves. It doesn't have the Big Declarative Moments of most rom-coms or indie romances, and that's because it's not a romance as much as an autopsy on why a romance went down for the count. It's melancholy without getting mopey. It has certain hipster tendencies but nothing that rises to an insufferable level of twee; it's routinely adorable and rather heartfelt in places, though I'd wishes it had offered more potent insight into its characters. This isn't going to be a movie that people build up great emotion for. By nature it's pretty low-key, choosing to handle its emotional pyrotechnics with delicacy and the occasional comedic set piece. For a comedy about divorc,e this si surprisingly sensitive. These are nice people, good humored, and you sort of wish the movie would just scrap any indie ambitions and substitute a happy ending. You want to shout at the screen, "Just reconcile already!" Maybe that was me just using the movies as good old therapy again (see: The Five-Year Engagement review, or don't). Celeste and Jesse Forever is an agreeable, affable, bemusing movie, with enough laughs and emotion to justify giving it a chance.

Nate's Grade: B
Super Reviewer
September 6, 2012
Sad and true. Acts I and III are nice, but Act II glorifies embarrassment humor a bit too much with Celeste's downward spiral. I was also a dissatisfied that despite both Celeste's and Jesse's names in the movie title, both sides of the story aren't fully evinced. We go on Celeste's journey of self-discovery, but Jesse's 0 (still being "in love" with Celeste and too-scared-to-let-go booty calls) to 60 (having a baby and wanting to make it work with someone he just met) transformation is just too inexplicable.
Super Reviewer
½ May 1, 2014
Celeste(Rashida Jones, who also co-wrote the script with Will McCormack who plays a pot dealer) and Jesse(Andy Samberg) are the best of friends and hang out all the time. The fact that they are in the midst of a divorce makes this fact disturbing to their friends Beth(Ari Graynor) and Tucker(Eric Christian Olsen). What would be even more disturbing to Celeste is if she knew of Jesse's one night stand with Veronica(Rebecca Dayan) when they were still together.

Surprisingly with its sit-com plot and comic actors in the lead, "Celeste and Jesse Forever" is glum and dour without being emotionally resonant in any meaningful way. While Andy Samberg's eyebrows betray him whenever he tries to be serious, Elijah Wood hits just the right note of bemusement. And then there is the large matter of a script that might have just worked after maybe another 50-60 drafts. So, maybe I should not complain that I still have no idea what exactly Celeste does for a living, especially considering I like the title of her book.
Super Reviewer
December 5, 2012
Celeste (Jones) and Jesse (Samberg) are a separated couple who remain friends and behave as though they're still head over heels for each other. They're on the verge of getting back together when Samberg learns he is to become a father after a one night stand.
This is one of those rom-coms where you find yourself really hoping the protagonists hook up at the end. In this case it's because they're so obnoxious you wouldn't want anyone else to have to endure them. Jones is a "trend forecaster", one of those great movie jobs which requires you to do very little work. She spends a lot of time mocking the decline of American culture while behaving like a moron herself and hanging out with people with names like "Skillz". Samberg has no job but still seems capable of leading a highly active social life. The only likeable character is ironically the one we're meant to despise, Roberts playing a Brittney Spears type pop star who Jones considers the nadir of culture.
Despite it's hip pretensions, the movie verges unconfortably close to homophobia with it's gay stereotyping. The film's aesthetic looks like it was by a teenage girl who just discovered Instagram. It's hard to see who the target audience is for this as it literally has something to infuriate everyone.
Super Reviewer
½ September 6, 2012
I really liked this. Very real. At times very funny. And at others quite heartbreaking. It's not the kind of movie you're going to watch over and over again, but you'll certainly be happy you took the time.
Super Reviewer
½ August 20, 2012
One of my favorite films of the year so far, CELESTE AND JESSE FOREVER takes the age-old rom com formulas and turns them inside out, upside down, and on its head. Co-written by its star, Rashida Jones and scene-stealing co-star Will McCormack and beautifully directed by Lee Toland Krieger, C+J 3EVER is the story of a breakup. Can former spouses be friends after it all ends? For our couple, the answer, at first, is a resounding yes. Andy Samberg works so well with Jones, that you believe they've been hanging out together their entire lives building a treasure trove of inside jokes.

For a while, this is more than a little annoying...but that's the point of the film. This hipster pair need to get over their smug selves and become better people. It's a lovely conceit and written with a sharp eye towards unexpected turns within every scene, alive performances, and simply believable scenarios. Celeste works as a Trend Forecaster, and her encounters with both Elijah Wood, as her gay boss, and Emma Roberts, perfectly channeling Taylor Momsen, not only bring such spark to the film, but both characters truly have a lot of bearing on Celeste's big issues. Wood is loose and fun here, and one scene where he and Jones sing their feelings was surprisingly charming, but Roberts is the revelation of the film. Keeping to the theme that every person isn't who they seem to be, she reveals layers and layers of her character as the film progresses, and I anxiously awaited each moment.

I don't want to take away anything from Jones, who owns this film. I've admired her work in THE OFFICE and PARKS AND RECREATION, but she's merely the Straight Woman to everyone else's crazy. Here, she gets to carry the comedy AND bring nuance and depth to a character most of us would dismiss outright. I felt for this couple, as I did for each of their new love interests (Chris Messina, always charming, and Rebecca Dayan). Also, Ari Graynor, who completely stole NICK AND NORAH'S INFINITE PLAYLIST, plays Jones' BFF with what is quite possibly the best side-eye in the business. I can't wait to see what she does next (which happens to be FOR A GOOD TIME, CALL, opening this Fall).

David Lanzenberg, making his feature debut as a Cinematographer, does notable work here as well. The camera is always probing and finding new angles at which to see Celeste. It's all pretty indie style, but occasionally a stunner of a shot is presented to make you truly appreciate the work done here. One shot in particular is a wide night exterior outside a wedding tent. When he finally zeroes in on a main character for that final shot, the camera work, direction, and performance truly comes together.

I'm excited for the romantic comedy genre after seeing this film.
Super Reviewer
½ June 3, 2013
I've so much to say about "Celeste and Jesse Forever" yet there's nothing I can really put into words. Watch it.
Super Reviewer
August 2, 2012
Rashida Jones' project was worth making. The emotions are real and Celeste and Jesse seem like couples we already know - those who we presume should be together but were not able to work..and yet remain good friends. Very sweet.
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