If I had two words to sum up the movie: surprising and redemptive. Oh, and quirky. (I’m a sucker for a little quirk.) But this not really a feel-good type of movie, because ultimately this movie is about domestic abuse. Yet the movie tried to hide under a thinly-veiled version of a romantic comedy. Did I laugh? A few times. But I was also horrified, angry and disappointed… experiencing that many different emotions in the span of 2 hours might just make the movie good for some people, but what made the movie good was the performance of Keri Russell and the scenes she had with Andy Griffith. They were priceless.
The overall plot of the movie mostly revolves about Jena (played by Russell) who a young woman in a bad marriage. She creates delectable and creative pies based on her feelings. The “I Hate My Husband Pie…” has bittersweet chocolate made into a pudding drowned in caramel, for example. There are loads and loads of moments like these in the movie, adding to the quirk but also reminding us of the reality of her situation. The movie is a strange mixture of fantasy and reality, and when I found myself removed from the fantasy it sometimes jerked me back, and not in a good way. Sometimes you just want to be entertained when you go to the movies. If that’s the case, I wouldn’t recommend renting Waitress. But if you want to be reminded of how hard it is to break the human spirit, and that sometimes “redemption has stories to tell” than this movie is for you. (I’ll give 10 points to the first person who knows what that last quote is from.)
There’s been some talk about how Hollywood “went pro-life” in 2007 with Waitress sighted as one of the examples. While it’s a nice thought, I don’t really buy it. Abortion is rarely glorified in the movies. But what I appreciated about the “pro-life” part of the movie was how it showed the perspective of a woman who didn’t want to get pregnant, and never once felt a change of heart in the duration of her pregnancy. She didn’t bond with her unborn child. She didn’t want to be a mother, and that’s not a issue you see as plot points for movies often. As someone who’s never wanted to have kids, it was an interesting plot to watch unfold.
Note of Trivia: Adrienne Shelly, who plays one of Jena’s best friends in the movie, was also the writer and director. She was found murdered shortly after the movie wrapped in 2006.