Celeste and Jesse Forever was the best film I saw at Sundance this year so I thought I would do a post on it.
The director said after the premiere that he wanted to write about how Americans today more often than not do not end up with their first love and explore that idea.There were a lot of things in the film I could relate to personally or through close friend’s experiences. First of all, a remarkably high percentage of my couple friends are high school sweethearts–both here in Hong Kong and back home, too. People are always surprised by that! Now obviously, I don’t think they’re headed for divorce by any means… but I similarly also have a lot of friends who went through one or two very serious and long relationships with people who they didn’t end up with. And it’s obviously a very sensitive subject which is the “better” route to take. There really are difficulties and benefits with both situations. But thank goodness I don’t think it’s something most of us really get to choose!
It’s something I go back and forth about a lot in my head… young love is such a wonderful thing… you don’t have the usual hurts and baggage that comes with surviving a few broken hearts… the weird little scars that being close to another person leaves, regardless of how benign. But of course, as in this film, you can’t really know at 15 what you’ll want at 30. Celesete (Rashida Jones from Parks & Rec–love her) has a burgeoning career and is frustrated that her husband (Andy Samberg) is a complete slacker, which is something that, again, I think most of us can relate to at one time or another because while I do think my personality changed very little from 15 to 25, what really changed is what I want out of life and what I think is important. Given how many amazing couples I’ve met that have been dating since they they were 15, I am really going to have to think long and hard about what to say to my dating teenage children–such a tough subject!
Back to the film… you really experience Celeste’s moruning in a real and authentic way. For all of us who’ve gone through it or helped someone through a serious break-up, there really is nothing in life that feels so utterly devastating and it really is true that you can’t just end it instantly, but you also can’t stay best friends and move on, so the way we cope with serious break-ups tends to be quite schizophrenic.
Celeste & Jesse does have some real mass appeal and Sony bought it for around $2 million so will likely be able to see it late next year. While far less depressing than most movies you’ll see at Sundance, it’s still quite sad (I teared up) and yet it’s why I love Sundance–movies that are this realistic never sell that well with the masses, but I love that they leave you thinking about them weeks later.
Stay tuned for my upcoming guides on ‘how to do Sundance’ and also ‘how to entertain large groups for weekends!’