* photo taken from indiewire.com
When done well, a romantic comedy can be truly cathartic for a lady. I am, as most women are, a huge romantic comedy fan. I won’t, however, just go see anything. I have my romantic comedy standards and unfortunately for me they start with the great Nora Ephron. So I have been disappointed plenty of times. They need to be somewhat believable and the main female character must be relatable (the good, bad and ugly). Above all they need to be well written – and that brings me to my Friday night date with Jesse & Celeste Forever at the Sunshine Theater on the Lower East Side of Manhattan – a great little independent theater if you’ve never been.
It wasn’t until I read an interview with lead actress Rashida Jones that I took interest in the movie. The preview seemed cute but silly and for whatever reason I did not have high expectations. But I do like Jones and after reading the interview I found out this was a passion project of hers that she not only stars in, but co wrote. She went through a lot of hoops, many years, many disappointments, lots of budget cuts, just to get this movie made and it was all because she wanted to write a movie that dealt with the real roller coaster of emotions that exist in an actual real live break up. I gained a lot of respect for her as an artist after reading this interview and wanted to go out and support the movie, even though I still wasn’t convinced it was going to be great.
The movie definitely had some frilly, familiar romantic comedy sequences I think they could have done without, but overall it was a really beautiful, funny, honest portrayal of a sad break up that everyone will be able to relate to on some level. There was a lot of heart and plenty of small moments throughout the film written and directed with real care and vision that hit home on a deep level. I left wishing the movie held onto those moments a bit longer, instead of falling into some of those cheesy romantic comedy traps we see over and over again. That being said it’s worth the 89 minutes of your life and at the very least I guarantee you will laugh and who doesn’t like to laugh. The soundtrack is pretty amazing also – I am patiently awaiting its release on itunes.