Directed by: Adrienne Shelly
Premise: Jenna (Keri Russell), a waitress working
at a small town diner specializing in pies, contemplates leaving her abusive
husband when she becomes pregnant. She meets a new local doctor (Nathan Fillion)
and begins having an affair with him.
What Works: Waitress is a really terrific
film with solid performances and characters who have a lot of reality to them.
Mercies, the film portrays people living in rural lower society with
compassion, never treating them condescendingly like Fargo.
Keri Russell is terrific as Jenna, a woman whose life has simply gotten out of
her control and she wrestles with how to reclaim her own happiness while also
satisfying her conscience. Some of the best moments in the film are between
Jenna and Old Joe (Andy Griffith) a crotchety customer. The relationship between
the two characters goes through an interesting development that brings out
surprises and allows for revelations in both characters. As Earl, Jenna’s
abusive husband, Waitress allows actor Jeremy Sisto to delve inside of
his character and gives him moments in which he is able to raise his character
above the deadbeat stereotype while at the same time remaining a threatening
What Doesn’t: The ending is a little too neat and
some critics might accuse the film of letting Jenna have her pie and eat it too.
The conclusion is not quite this simple, but Jenna’s final decisions are
Bottom Line: Waitress could be this year’s Little Miss Sunshine, a film without flash that uses wit and subtlety to make quiet but powerful observations about contemporary life. The film is as good as similarly themed pictures like Notes on a Scandal and Little Children but its humor and characterization set it apart from these other films.
Episode: #149 (July 22, 2007)