Waitress is a chick flick comedy that allows you to fall in love with a lying, pregnant, pie making adulteress. Waitress was released in 2007 by deceased film maker Adrienne Shelly and grossed 19 million dollars with a two million dollar budget. It stars actresses Keri Russell (Jenna), Cheryl Hines (Becky), Adrienne Shelly (Dawn) and actors Jeremy Sisto (Earl), Nathan Fillion (Dr Pollamer) and Andy Griffith (Old Joe). The film has a wonderful style of mis-en-scene that brings the entire story together and creates a leg for Jenna and southern town to stand on.
The film takes place in a small town in the south, where the local diner and pie shop is a main stay for most of its residents. Jenna, a waitress at the diner and spectacular pie maker is in an unhappy marriage and plans to leave her husband Earl when she wins an upcoming pie contest. After finding out she is pregnant with Earl’s baby, its throws a wrench in her plans to leave. After meeting with her new OBGYN, Dr. Pomatter, she begins an unprofessional and unethical adulterant relationship with her new doctor (who is also married). After accepting the fact that she soon will be a mother, she begins to write a journal for her baby explaining her sad life and how the child is already affecting it. The birth of the child ultimately affects her life in ways that she had never thought possible.
The film does a great job of making the viewer feel as if the characters are human and likeable. Shelly was able to create a feeling of sympathy for Jenna as she works her way through her marriage and pregnancy. It is a strange feeling to root for a married woman who is so eager to cheat on her husband while she is pregnant with his child. The film also does a great job of taking the obvious patterns of film and twisting them for an unusual outcome. Many film makers will jump at the first chance to create the ultimate love story, where the man and women come together in the end, but not Shelly. She did an outstanding job of not only glamorizing an affair but also changing the end in a way that most would not see coming. The film also has an awkward way of making the abusive and insecure husband a sympathetic figure. Though he is mean and scary to Jenna, one cannot but feel for a man who is about to have a baby but is being lied to and cheated on by his seemingly innocent wife.
Jenna as a character is easy to love and it’s obvious. Keri Russell’s witty charm and ability to make you feel for Jenna’s (for lack of a better term) crappy life is what really helps the viewer connect to the characters. Her new doctor also plays a huge part in the film as well. Dr. Pomatter is a catalyst to the story. He slides in with an awkward charm that sweeps Jenna off her feet and takes her on a wild ride of emotion. While Dr. Pomatter is such a big part of the film, his life and story is much left out which leaves the viewer’s wondering about what drove him to the behavior he is participating in. Waitress does a great job of letting you feel the characters personalities and to help the viewer understand what they may be feeling.
Waitress encompasses many of the ingredients of cinematography to create an enjoyable film. The mis-en-scene worked effectively in many of the scenes and settings where the film takes place. Most of the film takes place in the diner, Jenna’s home, and the doctor’s office. The diner itself brings a hometown feeling to the movie. Many of the locals hangout inside the diner, including the owner Old Joe. While the diner itself allows you to feel comfortable, the costumes of the waitresses bring you back to a time where the service was personal and with a smile. The aprons, hairdo’s and dresses that the waitresses wear give you a hometown comfy feel.
The film also creates a realistic feeling of how life is in a southern culture. The town is small and everybody seemingly knows everyone. The men and women have more traditional roles within the context of their lives. Jenna in the movie bakes pies for Earl and cooks him dinner, while he works and wants to control the finances of the home. He also uses violence to express his anger. Shelly was effective in giving the viewer a feeling of what the south is like or at least used to be like.
Waitress as a film was very entertaining and for a chick flick, I was surprised. Though some of the jokes and themes were geared towards women, it is a film that men can watch and enjoy. The mis-en-scene was effective and worked well with the style of the film. I would recommend this film to both women and men. Waitress was a good film and worth seeing if you want a heartwarming story with a twist.
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