Overall, I liked this movie.
I might catch some flack on that, because it’s about two married people having an affair. But I don’t decide whether I like a movie based on whether it agrees with my worldview. I decide based on what the movie wanted to say and whether it was well said. I don’t have to agree with it.
This particular story was about a waitress (and master pie creator) who’s stuck in an abusive, dysfunctional marriage. In the very beginning of the movie she discovers she’s pregnant; the story progresses from there, giving us a glimpse into her relationships with her husband, her unborn child, and her doctor. Much of the story is told through her love of baking interesting and unique pies.
I thought the movie was both funny and sad, a nice blend of lightness and reality. I felt for Jenna in her situation: I admired her for choosing to keep the baby despite her obvious dislike of her husband and the fact that the child was unwanted. That’s rare on the screen. I like how she translated her circumstances into aptly named pies (and I drooled often as she poured melted chocolate into pie shells in several scenes). It reminded me in some ways of Allie McBeal and her imaginative and imaginary responses to her own circumstances.
Earl, Jenna’s husband, was needy and controlling. He was even physically abusive on occasion. Jenna placated him regularly, seemingly out of both fear and defeat. Their pathetic relationship added a dimension of grounded reality to what could’ve been a fairly lighthearted story. Relationships like theirs do exist, hard as that is for me to fathom. Seeing the way he treated her–the things he said and did–prompted me to talk to the screen a couple times. “Girl, why are you letting him talk to you that way?” and “No he didn’t just mash your head … are you just gonna allow that?” Etc.
And of course, Dr. Pomatter was adorably nerdy and cute. It was obvious he was smitten with Jenna from the first time he met her. His goofy attempts at detached professionalism were very endearing. Adorable as he was, I would’ve admired him even more if he’d had just a little bit of integrity.
***** WARNING: RANT ALERT *****
I know the audience was meant to understand why Jenna would turn to another man, especially a sweet guy like Dr. Pomatter. Earl “deserved” for Jenna to find another man; Jenna “deserved” to be happy. Forget everything else … right? That’s garbage! What did Dr. Pomatter’s wife deserve? She was barely even mentioned in the movie. Sure Jenna, get away from an abusive situation, but don’t have an affair. Don’t destroy two marriages just because yours isn’t want you’d hoped. Jenna and Earl and Dr. Pomatter and Mrs. Dr. Pomatter made vows. I just don’t get why nobody’s good for their word anymore. I don’t get why it’s okay to take (or give away) something that doesn’t belong to you.
But I know these things happen the world over. The church is no exception, sadly.
***** STAND DOWN RANT ALERT *****
The end of the movie was just a little too perfect. Not quite perfect, but a little too close to perfect. I don’t want to give it away; suffice it to say the ending is my only complaint about the story itself. My other rantings were more about culture in general than this movie in particular!
On the whole, I’d give it 4/5 stars.