Females take charge in 'Waitress'
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Review on "Waitress": Russell, Hines, and Shelly take charge in this indie film

Samantha Belcher takes a look at Adrianne Shelly's dramedy "Waitress."

Samantha Belcher's insight:

By Samantha Belcher

 

Although “Waitress” (Adrianne Shelly, 2007) is shadowed by its director’s tragic death, the film manages to entertain audiences of all ages. This dark comedy follows the life of Jenna, (Keri Russell) a waitress in the South whose life comes to a halt with an abusive husband Earl (Jeremy Sisto) and unwanted pregnancy. Through the nine months, Jenna finds relief in making abnormal pies and her co-worker friends Dawn (Adrianne Shelly) and Becky (Cheryl Hines). “Waitress” also tackles moral issues when Jenna has an affair with her awkward ob-gyn Dr. Pometter (Nathan Fillion). Jenna has to go through many obstacles until she finds her inner strength and ultimate happiness.

 

This independent film is entertaining for all audiences. Although the acting is not Academy Award worthy, the abnormal plot elements from mainstream films are refreshing to see. 

 

The film highlights and almost celebrates Jenna’s affair with Dr. Pometter. The indie film does two abnormal things to these characters that we do not normally see in mainstream movies. Neither of the characters is punished for having an affair. Additionally, the characters do not end up together at the end of the film. In typical mainstream films, these characters would have been punished for the affair by some karma effect and would have also stayed together at the end of the film.

 

“Waitress” also stands out due to its all female leads and their corky personalities. This movie shines from other mainstream films because all of the characters are women who have struggles but conquer them in the end. Dawn finds the confidence to get out of her comfort zone and discover a mate, Becky finds relief from her marriage by having an affair with the diner’s cook, and Jenna finds happiness in her daughter Lulu. What is even more rare in Hollywood is that the main character Jenna is pregnant during most of the film. Many Hollywood movies hide pregnancy, but in this film, Shelly embraces it. Additionally, Jenna is not happy about the pregnancy, something never seen in film. She even goes so far as to call one of her pies “Baby Screaming Its Head Off And Ruining My Life Pie.”

 

Although “Waitress” has many abnormal elements, it has some formal elements of film that would make some people believe this was mainstream. The misé-en-scéne is very well done throughout the whole movie. Shelly depicted the rural South perfectly by occupying the main characters in a run down diner. The paint on the building is peeling and the audience can tell this diner’s hey days were in the 1950s. Moreover, there are not a lot of extras in the film. The independent film probably did not have enough money to pay actors to be extras, but this works to the film’s advantage and helps give this setting a small town feel. Dr. Pometter’s miniature practice also shows the town’s rural feel and his disorganized office helps define the doctor’s awkward and chaotic life.

 

One formal element that I thought lacked was in cinematography. I felt some scenes were cheesy and uncomfortable. In one scene, a very pregnant Jenna and Dr. Pometter start kissing in the examination room. The camera continuously circles around the couple that is full on making out. I thought this was a cheesy way to show these two kissing because this kind of camera movement would be shown in a stereotypical romantic comedy.

 

In another scene, we see Jenna fiercely staring at the camera with a huge smile on her face. The scene goes through her whole day and no matter what she is doing, Jenna is staring straight at the camera and smiling. This comes after a scene where Jenna and Dr. Pometter are becoming more intimate. I thought this was cheesy and uncomfortable to watch because Jenna looked like she came straight out of a 1950s commercial for toothpaste. I also felt uncomfortable because it looked liked Jenna was staring straight at me the whole time. Although this scene does a good job depicting Jenna’s new happiness, it felt forced and cheesy.

 

Behind Jenna’s sarcasm and Becky’s dark jokes, this film does portray an important theme that all women should pay attention to. “Waitress” shows the true power of women and what they are capable of. Through the support of Jenna’s diner friends, she is able to keep going day by day although she is enduring an unwanted husband and baby. Moreover, Shelly’s character Dawn is a perfect example of a woman who benefitted from getting out of her comfort zone in order to find true love. Additionally, Jenna shows a mother’s strength and love once she has her baby, Lulu. As soon as she gives birth, Jenna instantly falls in love with the baby she didn’t want for nine months. Lulu gives her enough strength to demand a divorce from her abusive husband Earl. Although this film’s main characters dabble with controversial topics, such as affairs and abuse, they are great and realistic role models for women. These characters are more than just waitresses, they are strong individuals who teach the audience that strength and laughter can help women get out of unfortunate circumstances.

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Movies | "Waitress," Shelly's final film, underscores the tragedy of her death | Seattle Times Newspaper

Movies | "Waitress," Shelly's final film, underscores the tragedy of her death | Seattle Times Newspaper | Females take charge in 'Waitress' | Scoop.it
Samantha Belcher's insight:

 I like how this article talks about the director Adrianne Shelly and how her tragic death tie into the movie's message. I like how this article discusses the realness of the characters from Joe's (Andy Griffith) cranky ways to Jenna's (Keri Russell) complicated life.

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Movie Review: Waitress | EW.com

Movie Review: Waitress | EW.com | Females take charge in 'Waitress' | Scoop.it
Keri Russell, with her frizzed locks and clear angelic eyes, has a look of such pert vivacity that when you first see her in Waitress…
Samantha Belcher's insight:

I like this article because it gives a good and quick overview of the movie. It also goes a little deeper by sharing some of the character's feelings. For example, it explains how Jenna (Keri Russell) feels trapped. The article is from Entertainment Weekly, a well known magazine.

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Waitress - Movie Review

Waitress - Movie Review | Females take charge in 'Waitress' | Scoop.it
Read the Waitress movie review from FilmJabber's movie critic. Also, get the movie trailer, a synopsis and more.
Samantha Belcher's insight:

This article talks about how light and fresh this film is. It is not too emotional but also not too funny. The artice explains how no one is going to win an award for the film, but it was simply meant to entertain.

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Waitress Review

Waitress Review | Females take charge in 'Waitress' | Scoop.it
It’s impossible to think or talk about Waitress without recognizing the tragic fate bestowed on its creator, Adrienne Shelly.
Samantha Belcher's insight:

Cinema Blend not only discusses the synopsis of the movie 'Waitress,' but talks about its abnormal elements. The article discusses how this movie is a dark comedy and has non traditional characters. For example, it shows how Jenna (Keri Russell) is your not so average mother-to-be since she is not looking forward to having a baby.

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Movie - Waitress - New York Times

Movie - Waitress - New York Times | Females take charge in 'Waitress' | Scoop.it
With “Waitress,” Adrienne Shelly tamed and shaped realism, finding a perfect, difficult-to-achieve balance of enchantment and plausibility.
Samantha Belcher's insight:

 This source was valuable because the writer gave a great synopsis of the movie while also providing details on the characters. The writer also had valuable information about the actor's career history. This article is also from the New York Times, a very reputable newspaper.

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