Chris Walsh (chris_walsh) wrote,
Chris Walsh

"Promise me you're not going to love that baby more than me."

Sign that Waitress was a good film: I was analyzing a character, and coming up with something to actually analyze. And the thought I came up with was, "That man does not deserve to be a father."

Nice film, that I took myself to after work (based on Mike Russell's and Dawn Taylor's recommendations). Keri Russell plays Jenna, a pie-making waitress, with a self-centered prick for a husband and an unexpected baby on the way. While dealing with her uncertain emotions during this period, she also starts an affair with the OB/GYN (Firefly's Nathan Fillion) who's treating her during her pregnancy, works like mad, and keeps writing an ever-growing letter to her not-yet-born baby, and the writing in the letter changes moods drastically depending where she is, emotionally.

It's actually and genuinely a comedy (getting laughs from some nicely awkward moments between Jenna and her doctor in the first half, for example), and in its quiet way is still pretty unflinching in how it portrays its characters: everyone has less-than-admirable moments, and as much of a jerk as Jenna's husband is, we see late in the film that his bad behavior comes from one hell of a core of insecurity. He's still dealing with this poorly, though (my entry's title is something he says; would you want your child's father saying that?). And in a nice reversal, a character I rather didn't like at first appearance (about one-third of the way through) shows some depth, and admirable qualities, later. Or maybe I see a little bit of myself in that character. Heh.

In a strange way, I think that shadesong (hi, 'Song) would like Waitress; she's spoken eloquently about what her child and her husband have meant to her in her life, and can probably understand the evolution of feeling that Jenna goes through. So yes, recommended.

Edited To Add: It feels wrong to mention this film and not deal with the real-world tragedy tied to it. The movie's writer and director, indie acting legend Adrienne Shelly, was murdered in her New York home soon after she finished it, and her killer attempted to make her death look like a suicide. To add posthumous insult to tragedy, Shelly's murder soon inspired a Law & Order episode. That makes me grimly glad I don't watch Law & Order.

I echo Mike Russell's feelings here: Something senseless and wrong meant that Shelly never got to do more work, never got to develop her talent further after such a strong writing-directing debut. Personally, I want to imagine her having the sort of ending that her supporting character in Waitress gets; that makes it slightly less horrible.
Tags: film reviews

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