Celeste and Jesse Forever

Movie review by
S. Jhoanna Robledo, Common Sense Media
Celeste and Jesse Forever Movie Poster Image
Talky hipster romcom explores the "perfect" divorce.
  • R
  • 2012
  • 91 minutes

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

It's the way a break-up is handled that separates the kind from the hurtful.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Celeste and Jesse mean well, and they really seem to care for each other deeply and want to do the right thing. But they're also messy and careless. And despite being seemingly progressive in the way it explores break-ups, the movie does trot out some tired tropes about heartbroken women.

Violence
Sex

A couple is shown kissing and then under the covers; it's implied that they slept together. A guy pleasures himself while he's kissing a woman, and she’s not pleased. A suggestive joke about lip balm has suggestive references to masturbation.

Language

Fairly frequent use of "f--k," plus "shite," stupid, "a--hole," and more.

Consumerism

Apple logo visible on a computer. IKEA is mentioned.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Characters smoke pot from a bong. References to getting high. Some social drinking at bars and while people are relaxing at home.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Celeste and Jesse Forever is an indie romcom that adds an interesting twist to the genre's typical formula but falls short of greatness, despite hip stars Rashida Jones and Andy Samberg. Older teens might find the concept refreshing, but the divorce/break-up-centric material could be a tad heavy (and the scenes talky) for younger teens and tweens. Expect plenty of swearing (particularly "f--k"), a scene of pot smoking (as well as additional references to drugs), some drinking, make-out scenes, lewd jokes, and implied sex and masturbation (though no outright nudity).

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What's the story?

Married thirtysomethings Celeste (Rashida Jones) and Jesse (Andy Samberg) have been together since high school, but their paths are diverging: Celeste's trend-forecasting business is blowing up, while Jesse, an artist, has no steady income. As Celeste points out, he doesn't even own dress shoes or have a checking account. They decide to take the "grown-up" route and separate, with an amicable divorce on the horizon. Instead of being a couple, they'll be best friends, with her living in their old house and him in the studio out back. But it's all much easier said than done, especially when a woman Jesse sleeps with once, Veronica (Rebecca Dayan), winds up pregnant. Off to the dating pool Celeste goes, but not without reservations. Plus, her new account managing a pop star (Emma Roberts) is a nightmare.

Is it any good?

Such promise, such potential; that's what CELESTE AND JESSE FOREVER has, but it doesn't deliver, at least not completely. With such an interesting premise and strong leads, you'd think it would be a win, but it lacks momentum and energy. You feel bad for Celeste and Jesse and their dilemma -- they do still care about each other a lot -- but you sort of only care a little.

And it's mildly disappointing when Celeste goes through the obligatory meltdown phase, eating too much, drinking too much, messing up at work, and falling apart. (Must women always be shown gorging post-break-up?) Bottom line? It has its moments, but this one won't be remembered forever.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how Celeste and Jesse Forever handles the theme of romance. Is it saying anything different than other romcoms? Does it rely on stereotypes?

  • Do you think Celeste and Jesse's situation is realistic? Is their "solution" manageable?

  • Parents, talk to your kids about your own values regarding sex and relationships.

Movie details

For kids who love romance and comedy

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