I was looking over the movies I’ve written about and realized that one genre was sorely missing and that is the conundrum that is the chick flick. The name in itself is kind of derogatory (and I apologize if I’ve offended anyone by its use) but in many cases, disturbingly fitting. So I thought I’d give it a try because, I’ll admit, I’ve got some “chick flicks” stashed away that I’m none too proud to admit. It’s not because I feel that they assault my masculine identity or that it’s too stereotypically gay, it’s pure and simple that there aren’t too many god ones out there. Most of them propagate one-dimensional female characters (typically created by men) that are just so irritating and naive or per the latest string of chick flicks, just too darn quirky for my taste. That’s why I was glad I revisited Waitress.
Adrienne Shelley, who sadly passed before she could see her film released at Sundance, wrote a truly fantastic script and directs beautifully. The writing of the movie has such a strong voice in representing its protagonist, Jenna (Keri Russell) which is something that’s so unique to the genre. Most of these films tend to be very “lowest common denominator” in an attempt to draw in more folks, but Waitress is very at home in its niche.
The most compelling aspect of the film is undoubtedly its characters who make the small Southern town well worth living in for the duration of the movie. Keri Russell is in fine form with this movie. She seems to know just how to play Jenna with a mix of humor and actual depth. There are moments (specifically her interaction with Dr. Pomatter) that are an absolute treat to watch, whereas there are others that have such a strong emotional resonance. However, as previously mentioned, this wouldn’t be possible without Shelley’s fantastic script and the character of Dr. Pomatter (Nathan Fillion). He’s handsome, he’s charming, and most importantly, he’s believable. He’s so sincere in his affections that you almost forget your own hesitation to like him. I think the film treats him fairly, never praising or demonizing, but rather letting the audience be the judge.
However, in the end, it’s not the charm or the look of the movie that won me over. It’s the women. Jenna’s support system (Adrienne Shelley herself and Cheryl Hines) offers both wisdom and compassion. It’s rare to see movies geared towards women that share these qualities. It always seems like romance is sacrificed for friendship or the other way around, but ultimately, in the end, it’s the decision of these women. Although it may take most of the movie for her to get there, by the film’s close, you’re totally aware of what a strong and positive woman Jenna has become. Its partially the strength of the women, never sacrificing their depth or characterizing them as “man-hating”, that makes Waitress so enjoyable. Pair that with an enjoyable and emotionally sincere script, and you’ve got the makings of a memorable movie.