Today I’m baking a this-movie-is-so-good-you-have-to-see-it pie.
Honestly, my love for “Waitress” is so big, it can’t fit into just one pie of a post.
Remember that diner scene in “Michael,” where John Travolta and Andie MacDowell are eating their way through an entire table of pies? I thought that was the best pie scene in cinema, until I saw this sweet, unpretentious, quirky, funny and poignant slice-of-pie set in a small Southern town. It really hit the spot, as good indies tend to do. There’s no big flash or flair, but oh, how the characters shine.
The story centers around Jenna (played by Keri Russell), a pregnant genius pie maker/waitress stuck in an unhappy marriage. She works at Joe’s Pie Diner with grumpy manager Cal, shy and insecure Dawn, and been-around-the-block a few times Becky. Jenna’s husband, Earl, is controlling, abusive, obnoxious, and basically insecure to the nth degree. No wonder Jenna finds refuge in making pies.
She totally resents her pregnancy, because it’s one more obstacle in her quest to get away from Earl. But she is strangely attracted to her obstetrician, Dr. Pomatter, an odd duck who falls in rapture after sampling her Peachy Keen Tarts. Their affair is comical yet tender. Jenna becomes addicted to “saying things and having them matter to someone,” just as finding out how she reconciles her anti-maternal feelings, deals with Earl and Dr. Pomatter, and finally revs up her mettle, ultimately matters to us.
Adrienne Shelly, who plays Dawn, also wrote and directed “Waitress.” Pregnant at the time, fearful of how her life would drastically change, she began writing a letter to her unborn baby, which sparked an idea for a screenplay. The film is even more poignant since Shelly was senselessly murdered just before it was released. Her daughter, Sophie, appears in the final scene. “Waitress” has drawn wide acclaim, earning five awards and three nominations. It was selected for the 2007 Sundance Film Festival and won the 2008 Chlotrudis Award for Best Performance by an Ensemble Cast.
And did I mention the pies? They go way beyond mere sensual decoration, though you’ll love gazing at all the dark chocolate, berries, custards, creams and marshmallows. The pies are a narration of Jenna’s inner thoughts — fascinating manifestations of love, frustration, anger, sadness, and friendship. By the story’s end, you will be craving some of Jenna’s Lonely Chicago Pie, Naughty Pumpkin Pie, or her special Strawberry Chocolate Oasis Pie. On a bad day, you will wish for a big bite of her Baby Screaming in the Middle of the Night and Ruining My Life Pie.
Superbly written, well acted and directed, “Waitress” examines the choices people make, the consequences, and the inestimable value of friendship.
So, what are you waiting for? Get thee to Netflix now!
*These Amazon movie trailers will whet your appetite.
“Baby don’t cry, baby don’t cry, gonna make a pie
with a heart in the middle . . .”