So, this was a movie in which:
- The situation being explored (people who are best friends, but are divorcing) was fairly unique.
- The divorce was fairly unique: sometimes in real life, people do get divorced because they’re in different places in their expectations and in their lives, but in movies divorces are rarely attributed to that. There’s big dramatic fighting or big dramatic cheating or big dramatic something, but while I allow that these things do happen, and I’m sure they happen a lot, they’re not the only things that happen.
- The situation, despite being different than what many movies discuss, could have easily veered into cliche territory. It could have turned into a lot of different things, and it didn’t.
- The characters were all imperfect. Celeste (Rashida Jones, who also co-wrote) and Jesse (Andy Samberg) both had perks and flaws and sure, you’d want their relationship to work, but clearly it wasn’t. And this was not either of their faults individually. It was the fault of, despite their being very close friends and still having lingering feelings for each other, their being in different places. Wanting different things and going about things in different ways. Struggling with the difference between ideals and actualities, between what is on paper and what is in real life.
- Jesse grew up a little over the course of the movie; his surprise baby daddy status for Veronica (Rebecca Dayan) forced him to. Not a whole lot of time was spent on his professional advancement, but presumably he was doing all right for himself; he started doing things that clearly he and Celeste would have made fun of, i.e. the vegan restaurant, but you know what? People change sometimes. And that’s okay. Sometimes it makes it harder for the people that knew them before to be around them in the old ways, but it’s not a reflection on anyone being right and wrong.
- Celeste learned lessons about expectations vs. reality throughout the movie; she presumably divorced Jesse because, while she loved him, it just wasn’t the kind of love that matched the rest of her life. She could be really, really goofy with her friends, but she also had a tendency to be very analytical. Her spot-on on-the-spot analysis of Paul (Chris Messina) was the sort of thing I often do in my head, but rarely have the nerve to say aloud. Sure, she could be a little abrasive in her need to be “right,” as Paul assessed. But I… kind of liked her.
- Everyone around them felt reasonably drawn. Their engaged friends Tucker (Eric Christian Olsen) and Beth (Ari Graynor, who I really do adore) were reasonable. They offered their opinions about the Celeste and Jesse situation openly, perhaps more openly than some people I know IRL but I’m sure as openly as other people that I don’t know IRL, but they didn’t try to force anything.
- It was a sweet movie, so I won’t spoil too much in hopes of you seeing it yourself, but I will say: I am so glad that wedding toast scene didn’t turn into a hot mess. I was legitimately terrified that it would.
–your fangirl heroine.