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Entries from Cinecultist tagged with 'Adrienne Shelly'

The Ever Winning Keri Russell

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Before the Cinecultist moved to New York for graduate school, we were kind of obsessed with Keri Russell and Felicity. Okay, not kind of, totally obsessed. Bear in mind that this was 2001 and also, we have the taste of a 14-year-old schoolgirl sometimes but Felicity represented all that was good and pure about our fantasy of moving to beautiful NYC. Now that Russell has moved on and Felicity finished, we're ready to let our curly haired actress mature from teenie bopper sensation to fully formed actress and her movie Waitress is just the ticket. Funny, melancholy and a little bit wise, Waitress isn't a far reaching movie. It makes a comfortable home in the details.

About a young Southern wife who discovers she's pregnant by her snake of a husband and who finds joy in baking elaborate pies, Waitress could be over-the-top folksy without barely trying. It's the sort of character driven small indie that littered the decaying art house movie palaces of the '90s. In fact, you may recall the writer and director Adrienne Shelly from that era acting in Hal Hartley's movies. However, Shelly's product is so insidiously charming that to do some jaded "been there, done that" number on it would be utterly heartless. This movie sweet talks you, and that's in no small part due to Russell's lovely performance. In particular her exchanges with Andy Griffith, who plays the cantankerous pie shop owner Joe, as well as her easy girlfriend-report with her fellow waitresses Cheryl Hines and Shelly, are very winning. Stylized and yet real, everything from the dialogue to the scenario and the pie baking in this movie walks that fine line.

Obviously it was a terrible thing to hear of Shelly's murder shortly before the movie's acceptance into the Sundance Film Festival and its warm reception there, but when you go to see Waitress—as you should—let that extra-textual tragedy go. Try to enjoy the quiet charms of this movie and its star on their own terms. Trust us when we say, they will be enough to win you over.