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July 31, 2007

There isn’t a mammoth amount to be said about Waitress, other than that it is Adrienne Shelley’s last movie (the director was murdered late last year during post-production) and, in contrast to that awful tragedy, happens to be one of the gentlest, happiest, most heart-warming pieces of simple confection I’ve been served up in a long time.

The opening scenes tell you all you need to know, really; Jenna (the utterly gorgeous Keri Russell) is an unhappily married waitress in a tiny mid-west town, squirreling away her tips and dreaming of winning the local pie-baking contest so, with the prize money, she’ll have enough cash to leave her oafish husband Earl. However, she finds herself pregnant, and wonders how she’ll ever cope, now that her plans must inevitably be kicked into touch.

Resentful of the baby, she tries to resolve her feelings and create a new future for herself. As she does this, whenever she reaches a moment of stress, she drifts away into a pie-dominated dreamscape where she bakes the most phenomenal pies that have ever existed. The great thing about going to see this a month early, with press and film-y people clamouring for some advance lowdown, is that you get the occasional freebie. Here, it was a nifty little recipe card with some of Jenna’s dreamed-up pie masterpieces:

Anyone who knows how these things work will be able to guess Jenna’s reaction when the wee bairn finally makes an appearance, and no, there are no surprises here, but what this loses in predictability it makes up for in sheer unadulterated heart. And when you smile as someone walks off – literally – into the sunset and you’re beaming away like a loon, you know that you have a little heart left too. Joyous.

Plus, it has pie. Lots of pie. In fact, these must be some of the best pie-making scenes ever committed to celluloid. Pie-tastic, in fact.

1/2 for the movie

for the pie

(actually, +, now that I’ve remembered the Marshmallow Mermaid Pie)

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