Reviewed by: Misty Wagner
What does the Bible say about adultery? AnswerPersonal stories about adultery and its consequences…
Is marriage becoming obsolete? Answer
Many people are convinced that traditional marriages don’t work and that this practice should be abandoned. What does the Bible say about marriage?
How can I deal with temptations? Answer
What are the consequences of sexual immorality? Answer
|Featuring||Keri Russell, Nathan Fillion, Cheryl Hines, Adrienne Shelly, Jeremy Sisto, Andy Griffith, Eddie Jemison, Lew Temple, Nathan Dean, Cindy Drummond, Caroline Fogarty, Sarah Hunley, Lauri Johnson, Andy Ostroy, Nora Paradiso, Darby Stanchfield, Heidi Sulzman, Christy Taylor|
|Producer||Robert Bauer, Todd King, Brigitte Mueller, Danielle Renfrew, Michael Roiff, Jeff Rose|
|Distributor||Fox Searchlight Pictures|
“If life was only as easy as pie.”
When watching films, I try very hard to see them as art. I try to be open-minded enough to see that, even if the content is offensive, the artists creating it could have had deeper reasons—deeper meaning.
Anyone who has really seen a trailer for “Waitress” knows that the storyline involves adultery. Being a Keri Russel fan (“Mission: Impossible III,” “We Were Soldiers”), I guess I began telling myself that this “sweet little romantic comedy” would have infidelities which were justified, because her character’s husband appeared to be an abusive jerk.
The plot of this film is simple. There is a girl named Jenna (Keri Russel) who is a pie genius. Everyone loves her pies. She is beautiful, talented, and yet no one envies her life. Every night, after working a long, hard day at a local pie diner, Jenna goes home to her controlling and abusive husband Earl (Jeremy Sisto—“Thirteen”). Earl takes her money, belittles and verbally degrades her. He controls her every move and demands that she recite silly little apologies and self condemnations to him. Eventually we discover that he is also physically abusive. There is nothing redemptive about him, and so, as Jenna begins a lustful affair with her OB-GYN Dr. Pomatter (Nathan Fillion—“Serenity,” “Slither”) it’s pretty easy to get caught up in the charm of it all. Jenna finds reason to smile, Jenna is finally cherished for the woman she is.
“Waitress” is a truly dangerous film. Granted, it is full of lighthearted moments, inspiration for laughter and the occasional heartwarming sigh. It is my belief that it is because of these things that it is most dangerous. Adultery is nothing to take lightly. It is painful and destructive, with dire consequences. The love affair between Jenna and her doctor does, eventually, become less about lust and grow into something deeper. This is where I may tread into controversial waters… I realize the adultery on her part IS wrong because ssin is sin, but given her circumstances, it is easy to root for the “prince” to ride in and save her. What truly offended me is that Dr. Pomatter is also married. Married to a great woman whom he seems to adore—a woman who is kind and trusts him.
Then there is the fact that Jenna’s co-worker (who is married to an invalid that she constantly badmouths) is sleeping with their boss (who is ALSO married). In fact, the only time that marriage is even spoken of favorably is when Jenna’s other co-worker Dawn marries her boyfriend. The downside of this, however, is that they only just met not long before.
This movie deals with realistic, horrific details that affect millions of homes. The women in this film talk about loneliness and a need for adventure. These women echo the hearts of most (if not every) woman in the audience. They justify their infidelities by using their brokenness as reason enough. The storyline is quite often played off with laughter, but it resonates beneath the surface, and I fear that this will only add one more thing for women to daydream about and wish for, when their lives feel less grand than they had hoped.
One character, Joe (played by Andy Griffith) seemed to voice Jenna’s conscience. He would tell her the affair was wrong, encourage her to start fresh, begin new. His few minutes on screen are the only slightly redemptive moments of this film.
There are other offenses, a few bad words, a few very mild sex scenes, physical abuse and on screen anger. Truthfully every other offense in this film pales in comparison to the bigger issue.
In closing, I felt a particular conversation was worth noting. Somewhere around the middle of the film, Jenna asks her boss Cal if he is happy. His response is “Happy enough.” He goes on to elaborate about how he doesn’t need much, or have much, so when things come along he doesn’t take them for granted. His answer was used to justify his affair with his employee. Jenna used his response to confirm how right it was for her to continue her affair. Everyone was so concerned about their happiness, in the moment. No one stopped to think about later on.
As for the quality of the film artistically, it was well acted and well made, until the end. It literally was as though a group of people looked at the mess they had tangled together, collaborated to tie the end up with a fairy-tale-like ribbon and call it a brightly-colored happily-ever-after. No consequences, no reality. A pretty bow on the end of a mangled, human mess. Life isn’t like that, and if this were simply the romantic comedy it advertises—I guess that wouldn’t be so vital. It isn’t though; it toys with the heart strings of aching women… Even for the strong of spirit, and not easily offended, I don’t recommend this film.
Violence: Mild / Profanity: Moderate / Sex/Nudity: Moderate
See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.