BLAKE HOWARD IS A FILM CRITIC & THE EDITOR-IN-CHIEF/CO-FOUNDER OF AUSTRALIAN FILM BLOG GRAFFITI WITH PUNCTUATION . BLAKE IS THE HOST OF THE ONE HEAT MINUTE PODCAST. BLAKE IS ALSO A MEMBER OF THE PRESTIGIOUS ONLINE FILM CRITIC SOCIETY (AND A MEMBER OF THE GOVERNING COMMITTEE), IS A CO-HOST OF GAGGLE OF GEEKS ON SYDNEY'S 2SER COMMUNITY RADIO, A COLUMNIST AT THE AUSTRALIAN ONLINE INSTITUTION DARK HORIZONS AND SWAYS THE TOMATO METER WITH ROTTEN TOMATOES APPROVED REVIEWS.
Celeste (Rashida Jones) and Jesse (Andy Samberg) are seemingly the perfect couple but they can't make it work. After repeat rejections from Celeste to patch things up Jesse decides to take the plunge and pursue other women, which triggers a surprising set of events.
C&JF starts out with an absurd situation that's on the fringes of believeable which contrasts the film's darker grieving favour as it progresses. Jones and McCormack tilt the focus almost exclusively to Celeste’s journey. Jones really gets to stretch her dramatic muscles as Celeste. The brief windows of comedy demonstrate what you've already seen in her bit roles in films like I Love You Man - but the roller coaster of regret allows her to get raw.
Director Lee Toland Krieger elevates the impressive material with a distinct and eclectic visual palette. From photo montages to open proceedings to impressionistic intimacy holding you tight to the characters tonally suits the tidal moods throughout.
Samberg does fun and quirky in autopilot but you can unfortunately see the strings in his dramatic performance, because he's out of his comfort zone.
C&JF doesn't reinvent the wheel for romantic comedy but the devastatingly truthful and agonising moments of grief and coming to terms that you've made mistakes makes it an unpredictable and an organic above average debut.
[rating=3] and a half stars
Blake Howard - follow Blake on Twitter here: @blakeisbatman and listen to the audio review on That Movie Show 2UE here.
Directed by: Lee Toland Krieger
Written by: Rashida Jones and Will McCormack
Starring: Rashida Jones, Andy Samberg, Chris Messina
Celeste and Jesse Forever is released in Australia on the 29th of November 2012