This past Thursday I ventured down to 2nd street Downtown to see a screening of ‘Celeste and Jesse Forever’ at the swanky Violet Crown Theatre. Located next to the W hotel and ACL Live, Violet Crown is a small movie theatre that offers cocktails, beers, and snacks to its patrons before the movie. It also strives to feature films it believes have a unique and indie quality to them.
I was there to see the dark comedy starring Andy Samberg of Saturday Night Live fame and Rashida Jones of Parks and Recreations who also happened to co-write the film. When you arrive, you walk into a dimly lit, modernly decorated bar and lounge area. We bought our tickets, and then headed to the theatre bar to order drinks for the movie. Turning 21 has been the highlight of my life, I think. I ordered a special cocktail called the Margot Tenenbaum, which the bartender described as a modern version of an old fashioned, the drink of choice of one Don Draper.
We then headed into the theatre and were seated in our recliner chair, that’s right I said recliners. The movie opens with a beautiful montage of Celeste and Jesse’s relationship set to Lily Allen’s song “Little Things.” The film chronicles a couple’s journey to divorce. When the movie starts, they are already separated. The twist is that they’ve been together for so long that they cannot seem to let their friendship go, spending every day together.
This film so perfectly comments on the struggle of letting go of someone. The sad moments are beautifully paired with humor and one-liners. It’s a romantic comedy minus the fluffy and over the top romance and instead is something way closer to reality.
Andy Samberg shows us a different side to his talent. He still hits the jokes and funny moments but also makes himself vulnerable to his characters situation. Samberg’s venture into drama succeeds in its efforts because he doesn’t over play the rollercoaster of emotions he is experiencing. I watched him and thought that’s exactly how a man would be in the same situation, no more and no less.
However, the real star of the movie is Rashida Jones. You watch her internal struggle as her life changes and automatically think, that could be me. Her character’s down spiral is funny, sad and sometimes hard to watch. Her portrayal of a woman who is trying to sift through a failed relationship and self-evaluation is poignant and grounded. She does this melodic dance around the character’s path and journey to self-realization.
‘Celeste and Jesse Forever’ also features a slew of great supporting characters. Elijah Woods plays Jones’ awkward gay assistant. Emma Roberts plays a Ke$ha like pop star who unexpectedly befriends Jones. Ari Graynor takes the role of the friend stuck in the middle of the couple. My personal favorite supporting character is played by Will McCormack who also co-wrote the film. He plays Celeste and Jesse drug dealing friend ‘Skillz’ whose comedy relieves serious tones.
The soundtrack to the film also is a great addition. It intertwines with the story really well, and I have been listening to it for five days straight.
I strongly suggest that everyone go out and see this film as soon as you can. It is currently playing at both Violet crown and Alamo Drafthouse in Austin.