Tonight I finally saw the movie Waitress, Adrienne Shelly's last work before she was murdered in her apartment in NYC. The world lost a truly gifted person in November of 2006.
I first saw Adrienne Shelly in the movie The Unbelievable Truth, which was a very early work of director Hal Hartley, then later in Trust. What made her stand out was that she truly became her character in these films, and was able to really make the viewer understand these quirky characters. I think it may be that she was a bit of a quirky character in real life, which isn't unusual for people who are passionate about what they do.
Waitress is about a woman, Jenna, who is married to an abusive, controlling husband (Earl) and discovers she's pregnant. Jenna works as a waitress and pie maker at a small-town diner. The story is a journey where all the characters interact and help each other grow in their own ways. While we love to hate Earl throughout the story, it becomes clear through the story that Earl really thinks life's all about him. A comment made in one of the special features talks about everyone's "inner Earl." I can see some of the Hal Hartley influence on Adrienne Shelly's creation of the characters and some of their dialogue, but the movie is truly her's.
I've seen some reviews of Waitress mention that it isn't special, and it has only gained popularity because of the circumstances surrounding Adrienne Shelly's death. I think those comments are unnecessarily harsh. Yes, some would say it's certainly a "chick flick." It is a story that has been told in some way before (Ruby In Paradise comes to mind as having a similar overall feeling and story). However, I think it is the quirky characters and the fact that they all bring something special to the table without being perfect that makes the movie work. I liked the movie, and I'm a guy. It isn't an action movie. It isn't a comedy, although there are humorous parts in it.
Interestingly, at the beginning of the movie, the music sounded somewhat like George Winston's Living In The Country (from his solo piano album Summer). Given the setting of the movie, I wonder if that was intentional...
Anyhow, I'm glad I finally got to see this movie. It has been on my list of movies to see for a while... I realize this is last, and I don't mean it to be least, but everyone did a great job in the movie.