Waitress (Shelley, 2007)

Catching up on some key missed films of 2007, so here goes. Waitress is everything I heard it would be – a sweet story, fantastic script, and some delicious mise-en-scene framed around wondrous pies and bright colors. But Keri’s Russell’s brilliant central performance greatly surprised me. At times cringing with agony (she has maybe the worst husband in modern movie history), Russell’s titular waitress Jenna walks like a zombie through a rotten existence, only finding her true calling when pushed to the brink by an unwanted pregnancy. Director Adrienne Shelley’s sparkling film enables a peachy rejuvenation for Jenna and her incredible pie making talents, showing a glow of confidence shine brightly. Purpose seems to be the great theme of Waitress, something that makes up both the company we keep and the lives we live. The sunny denouement sprinkles the final pinch of sugar on top of a joyful independent treat, one fixated on the edible joys of sacrifice and love and the pitfalls of insolence and insecurity.- A sad side note: As many of you might know, director Adrienne Shelly (a great actress in her own right), was murdered last year before the film came out, a devastating loss for the film community. As Shelley’s one and only directorial effort, Waitress feels like a forlorn goodbye to an old, innocent style of filmmaking crushed by the Tarantino’s and Rodriguez’s of the world.

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