Reactions to the Movie Waitress: Abuse & Marriage

I watched the movie Waitress this afternoon, primarily because it stars Nathan Fillion (I like him in just about whatever he’s in: Serenity/Firefly, Buffy, the short-lived Drive and Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog, among others). The movie was good, though it bothered me on two points. The basic story is a pie-making waitress gets pregnant, which ruins her plans to leave her abusive husband and prompts an affair. Despite that downer of a summary, it actually had funny moments (Andy Griffith’s character rocks).

Where are the Good Fictional Marriages?
First, is it possible to see positive marriage relationships portrayed in TV or movies? Maybe it was the trailers before the movie that featured multiple flicks about failing marriages, but this seems like a recurring theme. I realize life isn’t Leave it to Beaver and difficult, failing and failed relationships need to be portrayed; and I realize this isn’t a new theme; and I feel like a fundamentalist fuddy-duddy for complaining about it—but I just wish we could see more movies/TV shows about marital relationships that worked. I know they exist, I just feel like they’re endangered according to the entertainment world.

Abusive Bastard
Secondly, the abusive husband was hard to take. The portrayal seemed to slide back and forth from believable to just plain nuts. I had a hard time believing anyone could act like that, though I know it happens. What bothered me the most was that no one stepped in to confront the dirt bag husband.

In one scene he storms into the diner enraged, throws a chair and tells his wife she has 30 seconds to get her ass in the car. No one stops him. No one calls the cops. No one urges the wife not to go with him. Personally, I had a sudden urge to punch the guy (those who know me understand how ineffective that would probably be). The husband’s constant emotional and psychological abuse (never mind his occasional physical abuse) made me feel dirty.

I suppose that’s how abuse should make us feel. It’s soul-crushing that this kind of thing happens and that people think they’re stuck in these situations. My head is probably full of abuse as portrayed in movies and TV, and in reality I know very little about it. But yikes, get some help. Very few things prompt a desire for physical violence in me, but abuse is one of them. (And yes, I do realize how ironic that is.)

3 thoughts on “Reactions to the Movie Waitress: Abuse & Marriage”

  1. My wife and I watched this movie a while ago and really enjoyed it. There were definitely parts that made me squirm, but I think that was a good indication of how real it felt. I wanted to reach out and punch the guy too!

    Andy Griffith’s character was awesome…and the end was very suiting, which made all of the squirming worth it. just my 2…

  2. I haven’t seen the movie, but I can say that spousal abuse is far more prevalent than most people imagine. It’s also very common for no one to step in and try to stop it. You would be surprised at how adept people are at pretending that something isn’t happening.

  3. Of course stepping in and punching somebody isn’t something you can do when you’ve only heard second hand information. Andy Griffith’s character knew the husband was a jackass, but he didn’t understand the extent of it until the husband made a scene at the diner. Sometimes all you can do is let someone in that situation know that help is available, that you’re willing to help in anyway, and then it’s up to them to act.

    More often than not it’s the victim who pretends something isn’t happening and pretends it will get better. If they won’t let you help, there’s not a lot you can do if all you have is second hand info. That’s a crap situation to be in and gives the abuser all the more power.

    Arg, makes me want to punch people all over again.

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