The film 'Waitress' starts off kind of off-beat and slow. I actually saw this film , in reverse. I saw the last 25 minutes or so then got interested in it and went back and saw the first part. I was pleasantly surprised.
This is a film about a woman who discovers she's pregnant by her husband, whom she hates - a beyond abusive control freak. Its about the freeing nature of friendship, and to a certain degree - affairs. Its also about the transformational power of friendship and respect. And about the time in a womans life when she is both helpless and the most powerful.
The main character has two friends who give her a journal, to record her thoughts about becoming a mom. She writes to her unborn child.
As the film progresses , we hear the main character continue with this letter - which becomes in some ways a letter to the unborn child, and in other ways - a letter to herself. Meanwhile this selfsame friend ends up relenting to a slightly odd suitor met during a speed-date. Her friend overlooks the occasional seizure to accept his hand in marriage. During the wedding he stops the priest and says.. "Spontaneous wedding poetry here.. the title is 'Yes'".."Yes! yes. yes. Yes! I will be whatever you need me to be"yes. " Nice wedding. The party follows. They're both kind of odd people to begin with. And our main character is now very pregnant, and talking to the owner of the business - who has an almost preternatural sense about whats going on with her life. They were sort of dancing together during the party and sharing stories and generally doing what people do at wedding parties.
All of a sudden her husband, about halfway through the party, crashes in through the door, throws a chair against the wall and says to her - "I am very upset at you" ... "You have 30 seconds to get in the car".
The wedding went silent. She kisses her friend goodbye, and then leaves. When she gets into the car and sits down - 9 months pregnant - He stabs his finger into her face and says .."Not a word from you. You don't say anything". Then guns the engine into reverse.
When they get home, he pulls her into the kitchen and then opens the cupboard and shouts .."What is this?" .. pointing at money. He says .."I want us to be happy together"... He starts breaking down.. and starts telling her what to say .... "Tell me this is for a gift, for me.." This person is coming apart at the seams - and she pities him.
She tells him finally, its for the baby.. and he breaks down, crying. But then she has a voiceover..and we hear her writing a letter to her unborn child ... "Whenever you ask, how I got your baby bed. This is how I bought it. The money I was saving for my new life went to purchase your bed." The husband walks up at that point and says "Well, I got it all and we even have some money left over for a video camera. I can use it to make videos of the kid, and we can use it to make a sexy video as well.." And she just sort of says.. ok... and looks away.
She is trapped. She visits her lover/doctor who encourages her to continue to do what she does best and seems almost willing to break up his marriage for her. And in fact, at the moment it would appear as if he is going to do just that.
Her water breaks. And she goes into labor. And so off to the hospital, where she is giving birth + her husband breaks out the camera and starts filming her. She looks him dead in the eye and tells him to put the damn camera away.
Then begins heavy labor, and she delivers the baby. With her final push she says to her husband. That she doesn't want the baby - just as it is born. And then they give her the child, and she holds it for the first time.
And everyone in the room seems to disappear. And she is just holding this sweet, cute little thing. And then her husband returns to her side and says something, and she just turns to him, holding her baby .. and says "I don't love you. I never loved you. I want a divorce. And if you get within six feet of me, I will flatten you and enjoy every minute of it." In that tone of voice, that only a southern girl can truly deliver - which conveys every element of the sentence, with pure meaning and truth. The husband is shocked. And eventually. Forcibly removed. But she is there still , holding her little baby. She is in that moment, a new person. The person she wanted herself to be.
My friends mom translated Dr. Seuss for latin america. I am reminded of what she said.. "Every story has a key, a piece of it around which everything else centers." For this film, that moment was the ... I wish I could remember ... she said.. something about... it was a key? Some word or phrase that means, the key to a song - she borrowed the term from music. Does anyone know this phrase?
True to form, the husband refuses to pay for the hospital stay , and so they're wheeling her out of the hospital - and the doctor comes up and says. I know what you're thinking. And then he says. Ok. No. I don't know what you're thinking. What are you thinking? .. And she says .. "I am thinking, I could never thank you enough. For what you have done." The affair she had with him, gave her the courage to change her life. And she just breaks it off with him, right there. She says, that she sees the look of trust in his wife's eyes and she doesn't want her to be hurt. We break it off here, no body count.
And she goes on to raise her baby alone. And ultimately, wins the piemaking contest. There is a moment in the center of the film, where the man who fell for her - by affair - actually comes over to her place to learn how to make a pie. And she sings him a song. While she is teaching him.
Perhaps the easiest and most familiar aspect of this film is its setting - in the deep south. Where people commonly take the time to connect with each other. And where she finally made a connection outside of an abusive relationship. At once simpering and helpless - all too easily her husband turning abusive and by measure. Cruel.
The center of this film is a moment in which two people truly appreciate the fact that the other is alive. It is a real exchange, and one in which both become uniquely nervous with each other. A sort of law of attraction. Simple gifts sometimes are the most powerful.
And finally, the connection she needed to make with her life - beginning anew - was one that was made through a moment in her own life, and no one elses. Even if as she found that moment in a new life she held in her arms.