Adrienne Shelly's Triumph: Waitress
Adrienne Shelly's final film 'Waitress' starring Keri Russell is a quiet victory completely unlike the real life tragedy that surrounded its release. "If only life was as sweet as pie..." is the film's all too apt strapline.
Taking place for the most part at Joe's Pie Place, Russell stars as Jenna, a generous, creative young waitress who loves nothing more than making unmatchable pies with inspired names such as I Hate My Husband Pie.
Stuck in a marriage to the controlling jealous Earl who she stopped loving long ago, she uses her pie naming and creation to help herself through various dilemmas, saving money from her shifts at work until she can run away. But in the midst of planning her escape, she finds herself pregnant ("Yep, that was the time Earl got me drunk...") and spends the next few months resentfully composing letters to her unborn child and having a passionate love affair with her doctor.
With highly entertaining turns from a class cast including Cheryl Hines, Nathan Fillion and Adrienne Shelly, this film is an unmissable portrayal of one woman's struggle not to sink under the weight of what life throws at her.
Released in summer 2006, Waitress received good ticket sales and great reviews. A competent, stylish, unshowy film with flawless casting and an exceptional cast, the film only occasionally puts a foot wrong, sinking into overly-sentimentalised mother and baby bonding moments from time to time. Apart from these overflourishes the film is a victory and anyone unfamiiar with it has a treat as sweet as any of Jenna's classic pies ahead of them.
The heart and spirit of the narrative only emphasise the heartache that surrounds the film's release as writer, director and actress Adrienne Shelly was found hanged in her Greenwich Village apartmentjust weeks before the film triumphed at the Sundance festival.
Waitress is available now on DVD.
Tags: Adrienne Shelly , Waitress , Keri Russell , Cheryl Hines , Nathan Fillion
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