Celeste and Jesse tells the reminiscent tale of first love and first heartbreaks. They met in high school, married young, and over the years just started to grow apart. It’s a slow film devoid of the type of humor that would expect from the two leads, but that doesn’t mean that it isn’t worth your time. It definitely is.
Celeste (Rashida Jones) is driven. She works hard and expects no less from her partner, which seems to be one of the reasons she originally split with Jesse (Andy Samberg). When Celeste would come home from work at her media consulting firm, she would find Jesse in the guest house crying and watching repeats of old Olympic games. He was in no hurry to seek employment.
In the midst of their divorce, Jesse accepts the split even though he’s still in love with Celeste. The two have an odd friendship that to outsiders (and even their friends) is quite confusing. They seem like they’re together… They seem like they’re in love. They even finish their nights by saying, “I love you.”
As time passes and the situation changes, Jesse moves on and slowly starts becoming the man Celeste always wanted him to be. Celeste realizes that she has made a huge mistake. However, timing is not quite on her side, and now she has to move on and find some way to truly get over Jesse. The grieving process is long and raw for Celeste. She tries dating to distract herself, but it ultimately it doesn’t work. Nothing works. At the end of the day, she misses Jesse.
The film does throw in some humor to this rather heart-wrenching story. One of Celeste’s clients, Riley (Emma Roberts) (who clearly is supposed to be the Miley Cyrus of this fictional world), provides some much needed comical relief as the misunderstood pop star who just wants to be different.
Elijah Wood is also present as Celeste’s supportive and gay co-worker, Scott. While he invokes some moments of laughter from the audience as well, it just seems a little odd – just as it does with Emma Roberts. It’s not that they’re not funny. The humor just doesn’t seem to fit with the main storyline.
While parts of the plot seem a little cloudy at times, the acting is strong, and the concept is good. It’s just not the film that people will expect from Jones and Samberg. I urge viewers to realize they’re in for a bit of an emotional roller-coaster with this film. It doesn’t sugar-coat anything, which makes the punch of it all that more effective. Ultimately, viewers can’t help but feel Celeste’s pain, and this gives credit to the screenplay which Jones and co-star Will McCormack wrote.
Overall, Celeste and Jesse is a charming film that doesn’t feel like other cookie cutter romantic comedies. While it would benefit from a bit more cohesiveness when it came to the comedy, it’s still a film that is worth your time.
Review By: Emma Loggins