Sunday, December 9, 2007

I finally saw Waitress.

It has been a week since I last posted so I figured I should get back to it. Considering how I feel this shall be quite the undertaking. Please bear with me, my posts may not be the greatest for a while. So on that note:


I finally saw Waitress. (Spoilers ahead!!) I have wanted to see it since I heard about it long ago, especially since I had been a waitress all through high school. Anyway, Waitress was a tough film for me to stomach. I just got angrier and angrier throughout the film and kept hoping that it would redeem itself. As is crept toward the birth, I thought there would be no redemption but, alas, there was..... kind of.

The film is about a young woman who is married to a terribly emotionally and physically abusive man. While I understood the necessity of making him so horrible, his character was so awful it was actually quite unbelievable almost like a caricature of every abusive husband one could think of.

Jenna, our protagonist, finds herself pregnant after being drugged and raped by her husband. She is less than thrilled about her pregnancy but in some non-existent scene she decides to carry the pregnancy to term. Similar to Knocked-Up, abortion is never mentioned in this film, not even in the ridiculous joking manner attempted in Knocked-Up. It is just as odd in Waitress because Jenna had long been planning to leave her husband which the pregnancy naturally complicated.

So for the entire movie we watch as abusive husband gets more and more abusive as he discovers her pregnancy and her stash of running away money. At one point he even makes her promise not to love the baby more than him! I nearly vomited through a few scenes.

During all of this Jenna begins an odd affair with her married Ob-Gyn. The affair was also totally unbelievable. She just jumped on him out of the blue in front of his office. As the story progressed I became very concerned that the film was going to end with Jenna being "saved" by the kindly (if piggish) Ob-Gyn or that she was going to be trapped with baby and husband. The film did not leave me hopeful for any other outcome.

In the last fifteen minutes, Jenna gives birth to her daughter, tells abusive husband that she never wants to see him again, tells Ob-Gyn that she is not interested in ruining his marriage and causing any unnecessary pain, and falls madly in love with her daughter.

This ending was unexpected and quite relieving. However, I am concerned that the pro-forced pregnancy movement could see this as a great feminist reason to not have an abortion. "See! The baby actually saved her life!" Which, while it was relieving, it was also totally unbelievable. This is just another instance in which Hollywood gives us a taste of feminism, of empowerment, only to snatch it away. Yes she left abusive husband, yes she didn't end up with a man at the end (amazing!), yes she started her own business and lived happily ever after.

BUT

Her new found freedom came from the elderly patriarch who owned the restaurant in which she worked. Upon his death, he left Jenna with a small fortune.

So there it is. Even a somewhat empowering movie still ends with a big old backlashy slap in the face.

1 comment:

jorzo said...

You made a post about Ron Paul back in October citing concern with his anti abortion stance. I'm curious if you would support Ron Paul over the mainstream candidates of either party. The other Republicans and the non-Kucinich non-Gravel Democrats.

I have my own feelings of alarm now and then listening to Ron Paul's views, primarily concerning welfare and social security (I'm pro-choice, but I'm a man and it seems less important and a hopeless cause anyway) but in the grand scheme of things, he seems like the best chance to end American imperialism and that will be good for people's movements world wide.

I also think that his movement is improving the political culture here. I've admitted openly that I'm a socialist more often now than in any time in recent history. The thing is, no matter how libertarians hate socialists, they certainly aren't for the sort of cointelpro type interference in leftist movements that have been going on throughout my life time. Kucinich and Gravel have yet to manifest the sort of groundswell support that Ron Paul has and I think the reason is that the public just isn't with us. This is a movement to increase democracy and if things are left to the majority, the feminists and socialists are losers. But in the long run, if we want to have a better society and culture, we will have to do it by winning majorities and in the mean time side with the public against oligarchic corporate rule.