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Jenna Hunterson, a young, unhappily married waitress plans to runaway from her husband, enter a pie-baking contest and start a new life. But when she finds herself not only pregnant but also falling for the new handsome Doctor, her plans take a slight detour.
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Adrienne Shelly, wrote, directed and starred in the movie. Sadly Adrienne Shelly died before the film was finished and she never got to see this sweet, lovely film of hers. She made a great little movie with a big heart. It’s the type of film that leaves you with a nice, warm feeling inside - a simple story, told in a simple whole-hearted way.
Jenna (Russell) is an unhappy girl, stuck in a dead-end life and marriage. She loves baking pies, not only does she have a remarkable talent because they are delicious but they also take her away from all the stress and sadness in her life. She creates new recipes from every experience or emotion that she feels and gives them crazy names like “I’m having Earl’s baby pie” and “I hate Earl pie”. This is a great film for food lovers too as the creations of the pies are captured on screen. I just love watching movies based around food, it’s such a delicious thing to watch.
Jenna’s husband, Earl (Sisto), is absolutely awful and it’s not just that he’s horrible to Jenna in private – he’s horrible 24/7, privately and publicly. This film isn’t about Jenna trying to convince herself or anybody else how terrible her husband is, because everybody knows that already. She is way beyond that and is now at the point where she is almost ready to leave. Jenna finds out she’s pregnant and her plans take a slight turn in direction. This isn’t a film about a woman’s struggle with the morals of having or not having a baby either. There is no issue with that, it’s clear that Jenna isn’t happy with the pregnancy but she never questions having an abortion. Jenna also starts to have an affair with the new Doctor Pomatter (Fillion) but nor is this film about falling in love and meeting the perfect man either. Jenna isn’t looking for love in particular, she just wants to be free and happy.
“Waitress” is about a woman who has been deprived of her life for so long and has finally realised that she is worth so much more. Jenna’s a good person who unfortunately married a guy she was in love with but woke up with a complete bastard the following day. Luckily she has her friends at the diner as well as her quality time in the kitchen baking pies. She is kind and pretty well put-to-together, considering what she’s been going through, the type of character that you will definitely want support and see live happily-ever-after. She always appears to be strong even when we see her in unpleasant situations. She does however open up more and more throughout the film. This is a process that she must go through for her to finally break-free. The pregnancy, the affair, her friends, her work - they are all a catalyst for her release.
The film also brings out a natural humour which is expressed through awkward situations, for example, the relationship between Jenna and Doctor Pomatter. Their interactions range from uncomfortable, loving, serious, to nerve-racking. Every-time we see them together we really don’t know how they are going to respond, and these reactions portray the exact emotions that they are both feeling - they’re confused.
This is the type of film where the actors don’t look like they’re trying, they simply are the characters. Earl (Sisto) plays Jenna’s husband really well. What is most effective about his character is that he’s absolutely oblivious to the fact that Jenna despises him. Perhaps he’s in denial, either way his character works a charm – you kind a feel sorry for him really. Jenna’s friends Becky (Hines) and Dawn (Shelly) all are different personalities each with their own emotional battles. Becky’s the loud, outspoken waitress who is tired of always taking care of her sick, older husband so she stirs up some shenanigans of her own. Dawn is the sweet, single waitress who finally finds love where she least expects it. These supporting characters add on a layer of quirkiness and balance to the film, which all in all makes it a pleasure to watch.
I would say that “Waitress” is more of a (indie) chick-flick and I don’t think the guys would be too crazy about it. I shall not put my foot down and say all men will dislike it but a fair few probably won’t. It’s not a tear-jerking drama, it’s a light-hearted tale with the best of everything.