I fell in love with Adrienne Shelly long before she wrote and directed the amazing Indie film Waitress. You can read about her incredible achievements in this article from The Guardian.
I first saw Adrienne Shelly in 1989 in The Unbelievable Truth, directed by Hal Hartley. In the movie, Shelly played Audry, an intoxicating and breathtaking high schooler headed for college and obsessed with the threat of nuclear destruction. A year later, Shelly played Maria in Hal Hartley’s Trust. The plot of Trust and the description of Shelly’s character are too crazy and complex to describe succinctly. But it doesn’t matter because you’ll end up watching the movie ten times if you watch it just once.
Shelly is hypnotic.
She’s the girl you want to be. Or have. Or know.
She’s a dream.
I discovered Adrienne Shelly at a time in my life when I was trying to reconcile my various paths. I was studying to become a lawyer, going to law school during the week and teaching writing to support myself. On the side, I was making beautiful, impossibly time-consuming collaged greeting cards at my dining room table. My greeting card business model would have left me bankrupt, but I had to do something with the creativity flowing out through my hands.
On Friday and Saturday nights, I escaped it all, watching Indie and foreign films at the Key, Biograph and Foundry theaters in Georgetown. I was bombarded with role models of professional women by day and during the week in the busyness of Baltimore and Washington DC. I used the weekends to feed my starving artsy soul.
I was so in love with Adrienne Shelly. For me, it was hard to separate her – the actress, person and girl – from her characters. She was like Audrey Hepburn and Holly GoLightly. To me, they were the same person. Or two parts of the same person. She inspired me like a modern Audrey Hepburn.
And I needed a modern Audrey Hepburn.
The women I loved were women who were made up of lots of women. They weren’t just beautiful or sexy or smart or accomplished. They were everything. They were everything they wanted to be, whatever that was. They were loving and maternal and giving and gracious and well-meaning and grateful and simple and honest.
They were all the stuff.
When Waitress, the movie, came along in 2007, I was so happy for Adrienne Shelly. She wrote an amazing film and the casting was superb. The story was beautiful and the metaphors soothed the soul. I couldn’t wait to see what she would do next.
Well, that’s enough reminiscing. Definitely watch The Unbelievable Truth and Trust before you work your way up to Waitress. Spend a weekend with Adrienne Shelly. Then let’s Zoom. And we’ll just love her work together.
To say she was taken away too soon or that it was brutal is all just ridiculous words.
It’s awful. It’s just awful and unexplainable.
I wish I could give her daughter a hug and tell her how much her mother meant to me. Listen to the part of the documentary where Sophie talks about the hard days of living without her mother.
I wonder if Sophie can feel all of the virtual hugs she must be getting.
But spoiler alert: there’s no answer to anything.
It’s completely unsatisfying because the ending is awful.
But watching Waitress again right after helped me. 🤎
xoxo, d (and bella)