Waitress (2007) Movie Review

Waitress (2007) Movie Review

Jenna Hunterson      Keri Russell
Earl Hunterson        Jeremy Sisto
Dr. Jim Pomatter     Nathan Fillion
Old Joe                   Andy Griffith
Becky                     Cheryl Hines
Dawn                     Adrienne Shelly

Rated PG-13 for sexual content, language and thematic elements.

Unhappily married to a controlling and suffocating man, Jenna is making a plan to leave him. She works as a waitress and pie baker at Joe's Pie Diner. Each day when her husband Earl holds his hand out for her earnings, she keeps a little for herself. She's secretly saving money until she has enough to run away. Her talent at inventing new pies could be her way out, if only she could get to the pie baking contest. The prize money is $25,000. Her husband believes she has everything she could want, and is insulted by her desire for anything beyond what he gives to her. She's forbidden to go.

To make matters worse, Jenna discovers she's pregnant. Her hopes of escaping are dashed. Her husband isn't pleased by the pregnancy, at first. He doesn't want to share her love. He makes her promise to not love the baby more than she loves him. She promises, just as she says everything Earl tells her to say.

She heads off to her family doctor, who has surprisingly gone into semi-retirement. Her new doctor is Dr. Pomatter. She's not especially fond of him at first. He's kind of nervous around her. One day as she's leaving, she throws her arms around him and they kiss. Not just a little kiss, but an arms flailing and head thrashing sort of a kiss. Their affair is additionally complicated by the fact that Dr. Pomatter is also married.

The owner of Joe's Pie Diner, Old Joe, comes to the restaurant each day. He's quite particular when he places his order, and while other waitresses dread him, Jenna becomes fond of him. He's obviously fond of her. He offers her advice and because of his typically demanding personality, it's quite sweet. Unfortunately she doesn't have the money to follow his advice to "Start fresh".

Her coworkers, Dawn and Becky buy Jenna a book for pregnant women. There's a place in the book to write a letter to the baby, and Jenna writes; not love letters or letters of expectation, but apologies, explanations and confidences. The letters become a narrative for the film. When Jenna gives birth, she unexpectedly finds the freedom she needs.

The background for this entire story is pie baking. Jenna invents truly delicious pies with names that describe her life at the time. “Bad Baby Pie” when she finds she's pregnant. “I Can't Have No Affair Because It's Wrong & I Don't Want Earl to Kill Me Pie”, and “Fallin' In Love Chocolate Mousse Pie” to name a few. I was mesmerized. As Jenna melted the chocolate fillings, poured thick creamy custard, or beautiful plump fruits in beautiful glazes into pie shells – I was entranced. When I bake, it's a busy experience – but this woman baked like she was making music with every movement.

I found this movie to be quirky. The pie baking and lullaby that Jenna's mother sang to her as she baked pies will stay with you. Some of the recipes are even available online. I thought perhaps men wouldn't like this film as much as women, but reactions seem equally positive between the sexes. I'm not sure if it's the delicious looking pies or the story of rediscovering hope, but it's a sweet film.

The writer and director of this film was Adrienne Shelly. Adrienne also played the part of Dawn, Jenna's coworker. Her daughter played Jenna's toddler. Adrienne wrote the song, “Baby Don't You Cry” which is impossible to get out of your head.

Tragically, this would be Ms. Shelly's last film. She died shortly after the film was completed.

I paid for the video rental service that provided this DVD. I was not compensated for my review.

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