Monday, June 19, 2017

Wholeness and wholesomeness: Waitress reviewed

More from the vaults...

Waitress (2007) starts off bitter and slowly graduates towards sweet, and by the end is more than a little cloying. Still, if you can forgive it that, there's a lot to like here.

Keri Russell (who 2017 me has just remembered was also the best thing in Austenland) plays Jenna - a typical waitress in a classic American diner, with a pie fixation, a lousy husband and an initially unwanted pregnancy. Via an affair with her doctor and with the support of an ensemble of small town comic stock types, she finds herself!

So full of archetypes is it, Waitress only really makes sense to me as the filming of an indie slice-of-life graphic novel, a four-colour tale of wacky waitresses, bad-tempered cooks and nerdy-but-loveable suitors. But that's not necessarily a bad thing if it's done with skill, as it is here thanks to presiding spirit writer/director/co-star Adrienne Shelley *.

Rather, it makes it a film with a vision - a way of looking at the world. Wholeness and wholesomeness.

Until the last act, Waitress does a good job of tempering this sweetness with the damaged marital relationship at its core. And it's not that I begrudge the film its happy ending, it's just that without that dilution the mawkishness goes right up to 11 and it loses its charm somewhat.

Up to that point though, a most likeable picture.

* who was tragically murdered shortly before the film was released.

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