Forever is Quite the Commitment

Yesterday, after my daily writing was done, I figured that nothing could be better than an afternoon movie on the sofa.  My neck has been seriously jammed up, as if cement has been poured down the back of my head, dripping towards my shoulders.  Feeling tense, I just want to curl up, and get lost in someone else’s story for a while.

On Netflix, there are so many options that you could practically spend your allotted movie time just searching for the perfect film.  Luckily, I did not have to search that hard: the first thing I see is “Celeste & Jesse Forever“, the film co-written by and starring Rashida Jones, along with Andy Samberg.

Celeste and Jesse Forever1

Warning: if you have ever gone through a divorce or a terrible breakup, or have a dismally stiff upper body and are depending on a Vancouver Canucks neck pillow to ease your pain, this movie is a mine-field, a mine-field I tell you!

The film was beautiful, touching and really funny.  And I was a fucking puddle by the time the credits rolled. Celeste and Jesse, best friends since high school, married young and grew apart, and separate (sort of) six years later.  The dissolution of their relationship is not because they don’t love or laugh, it is that their values in regards to ambition are wildly skewed.  Celeste is goal-oriented and success-driven, Jesse wants to surf and watch television. Though they are divorcing, they are committed to  their friendship–which is difficult if not impossible. He lives in the guest house, they still go out with their couple friends, they spend time together, lean on each other, but they are no longer a couple.  It’s confusing for the characters as well as the viewers. The  crux of their situation is that Jesse is not getting off the couch and participating in building a better life.  Frustrations aside, they still share inside jokes and intimate details, and to each other, they are the very thing anyone wants–a best friend who truly understands you.

117896023_celeste-j_363227bAs the story goes on, my sniveling heightens, as does the pile of tissues on the coffee table.  In truth, even thinking about the movie thickens my throat.  The storyline is completely identifiable–we’ve all had to let go of someone we’ve loved.  But this picture offers the double-whammy: losing your partner is painful enough, but when that person is also your best friend, it’s the absolute worst.  You want to talk about losing someone, with the very person you’ve lost, and that’s a heart breaker. In this film, both parties go back and forth between needing to be apart, and wanting to be together.  But the story really belongs to Celeste and her devolution from polished and professional into a sloppy, unkempt, chain smoking, ranch dressing drenching mess.

rashida jones breakdown The movie examines a number of issues: the long road to recovery after a breakup, moving forward, and trying to find a new way to love a person whom you no longer love.  Of course, it touches on how men always seem to bounce back a little bit better than women.  For some of us, getting over the end of a relationship is like recovering from an illness.  There is no known cure but time, perspective and bottles upon bottle of red wine.

celeste-and-jesse-forever-breaKDOWNThis morning, while poking around different articles, this movie swirling around in my head, I came across an article discussing Brad Pitt‘s remarks about his marriage to Jennifer Aniston.  He occasionally garners criticism for his negative comments about that time.  He makes it extremely clear that his union with the ‘Friends‘ superstar was just about the most soul crushing thing ever.  He claimed that he played interesting characters in interesting movies, but that his life wasn’t exciting to him.  And therefore, what do you do when you have money, fame, success and a beautiful wife? You sit on the couch and get baked…for years.  He draws this mystical conclusion that he was unhappy, wasting his potential, and said:  “I think that my marriage had something to do with it. Trying to pretend the marriage was something it wasn’t”.

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And he’s got the right to say it, it was his marriage, and how he  felt inside those matrimonial walls.  But that really smarts, doesn’t it?   The relationship ends, and your lover’s life improves in your absence. And this is the issue with “Celeste & Jesse”, their separation causes one’s life to sky-rocket, the other to crumble.  And then it becomes an issue of self-worth.  I’m not worthy of love, and I’m not worthy of making your life better.  When I went through a rather life-changing breakup a few years back, suddenly living out of a suitcase, staying with friends, I occasionally thought about Jennifer Aniston.  Do you think she would ever get over having been married to Brad Pitt?  Do you think she smoked cigarettes on a balcony, recalling only the good times–remember all those dinners with Trudie and Sting?
jen brad sting
Remember the matching highlights, and romantic red carpet glances?
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And I suppose, for us regular folk, unless you stalk their Facebook account, you can generally shield yourself from your former partners post-you updates; you can avoid hearing information about our ex’s and their new lives with new loves.  You wouldn’t be standing in line at the grocery store and see a magazine cover with your ex gallivanting with newer, better, younger.
angelina brad bed
And as the years drift by, your ovaries and box office appeal drying up in equal measure, after John Mayer has stopped returning your calls, (but can’t stop explaining to random paparazzi why he couldn’t “make it work” with you), you have to wonder where you took a wrong turn.  Meanwhile, your ex can’t stop procreating with your pillow-lipped replacement, nor can he shut up about how amazing his new life is.  That would truly piss me off, and would send me into a tail spin where I would just get blitzed at public events and make comments like: “I like invented him you know?”
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But I’m sure Aniston is perfectly fine, she’s got a house in Malibu and a dermatologist on speed dial.  As time goes on, the hurt lessens, and reality sets in.  It wasn’t all matching highlights and dinners with Sting and Trudie. It couldn’t have been easy for the big hunk of hotness all baked on the couch, wishing his life was more “interesting”.  If you can strike a balance of remembering what was good, but realizing why it was bad, you can make peace with those years and be grateful for what you learned.  And by the bittersweet end of “Celeste & Jesse”, they are also perfectly fine.  They’ll move forward, but will occasionally look back.  But don’t we all do that? Once in a blue moon, take pause and wonder how those we once loved are faring. Occasionally something small or insignificant  will happen and this long-ago feeling twists inside of you that causes you to miss someone who used to be the best friend you ever had.
rashidaAll Images Courtesy of Google

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