Hollywood makes enough movies that there are always a few that you don’t hear about until they are on DVD. Sometimes they are simply horrible films that end their theater run quickly, but often they are “diamonds in the rough” that made their mark at film festivals.
These movies often appear in our DVD catalog along with the blockbusters and sound intriguing. If the independent reviews are good, the library might take a chance on purchasing it.
I just came across one of those films. “Celeste and Jesse Forever” is an independent film that did well at the Sundance Film Festival. I had never heard of it, or any of the actors in it. It was promoted as a light, romantic comedy dealing with the difficulty of marriage. The reviews made it worth ordering, and I decided to have a look myself.
The premise involves a couple of high school sweethearts who marry young and face marital issues by the time they turn 30. Celeste is successful in her profession while Jesse is unemployed and twiddling his thumbs. She thinks divorce will provide freedom from the stress of living together, but allow them to remain friends. He reluctantly agrees.
The premise is a bit misleading in that it isn’t a time-warp movie but one that starts with them technically separated, divorce at-hand and still spending a lot of time together. Their courtship, wedding and marriage are covered during the opening credits. In fact, you don’t realize that they are already separated until they’re out with friends for dinner and their friends go ballistic about how they’re always together when they’re getting divorced.
The film takes a lot of patience because at first I thought it was just a matter of time before I hit the “stop” button. The early scenes are overplayed and the F-bomb used more often than necessary. Instead of being a tender comedy “Celeste and Jesse Forever” looked like it might be a worthless slapstick with no redeeming value. I hung in there because I couldn’t believe the reviews could be that unreliable.