Dear Baby,

I don’t want this to be the first thing I have to tell you. But since I want it out of the way, I’ll say it anyhow. I wasn’t planning to have you produced. I have been too discouraged to write for awhile now. In fact, I haven’t reviewed any of the last dozen movies I’ve seen. However, I met “Waitress” last night and honest, baby, I didn’t expect to develop some feelings. But I guess when you fall for a movie, there’s no way of rising above it. I was touched. The next thing I knew, I am impregnated with an idea as to how I will form you in my head.

Baby, you deserve to know about the movie that inspired you. “Waitress” is about Jenna, a lovely waitress (Keri Rusell) who is a pie genius in her own right. She is not a happy person though. She goes through her day as if she’s dead inside, even if her inner body grows a fetus. Unsure of motherhood, she doesn’t really want the baby. (Her inspired pie of the day: “I Don’t Want Earl’s Baby” Pie). What she really wants is to leave her husband Earl (Jeremy Sisto), who keeps her on a tight leash. Even if life seems miserable, at least she gets help and support from her chatty colleagues (Cheryl Hines and Adrienne Shelly) and an uneasy yet handsome ob-gyn (Nathan Fillion).

The movie is simple enough, baby. It is baked with the heart of a small-town charm. Through Russell’s finely tuned performance, Jenna is a compelling lead and she’s surrounded by quirky characters. The story initially begins as a light comedy, but slowly shifts into a fairy-tale-like dramedy. Yeah, kinna weird. I tell you though that in the middle of the movie, while I was going along with its straightforward story, I felt a wait-a-minute kick in my head. I pulled back and realized these wanna-hug-em characters are not good as they seem. For some reason, filmmaker Adrienne Shelly charmed me not to be judgmental. On a different movie or even in reality, these characters, especially Jenna, would look problematic under a moral spotlight. Somehow, Shelly pulls off a great feat as she turns the movie’s characters inside-out. She exposes the goodness of their hearts, even if their decisions may make you shake your head. Bless her soul, the late filmmaker proves to be an angel of empathy.

Once I realized what Shelly had slyly done, I couldn’t help but re-examine the whole film. On the surface, it deems itself to be a simple, light-hearted journey and yet on a closer inspection, it quietly explores the complex agonies of a human soul. Certainly, the movie had its flaws; the editing is sometimes spotty. And yet, I’m starting to believe these flaws are intentional as part of the whole movie’s whimsy. “Waitress” isn’t perfect and yet, it seems perfect that way. Am I making sense to you, baby? Well, that’s how it is. That’s how it is when you fall for a movie. Flaws rise into perfection.

Grade: A

Keri Russell, Nathan Fillion, Cheryl Hines, Adrienne Shelly, Jeremy Sisto, Andy Griffith, Eddie Jemison, and Lew Temple
Screenplay by
Adrienne Shelly
Directed by
Adrienne Shelly
Rated PG-13 for sexual content, language and thematic elements