I guess everyone knows the sad story of this little film by now. The writer-director, Adrienne Shelley, was brutally murdered by a piece of human garbage, Diego Pillco, when she complained he was making too much noise in an adjoining apartment. Diego’s explanation? He was having “a bad day.” May he never have another good one. As of now he’s awaiting trial, and should never be a free man again, but you never know about New York juries. Los Angeles juries let celebrities walk, but in New York it’s the poor folks who it’s hard to convict. The murder happened just days before she would have learned that her little labor of love had been accepted at Sundance.
I wanted to put all that out of my mind and simply view it as a movie, but it’s impossible. I didn’t want to give Shelley any sympathy points as an artist … and I don’t think I did. My verdict: She would have had a bright future as a writer-director-actress. Another Kubrick or Scorsese? Probably not, but you never know. She should have had plenty of time to develop. She had two full-length directing credits before this one, and I haven’t seen either of them. What she showed me here in her writing was a great imagination, a great feel for character. There is a business with the making of pies that is just delightful. As a director, she knew how to place the camera, knew how to edit for best effect, and had a wonderful sense of composition and color. It reminded me, a little, of another waitress, Amélie Poulain, though of course she didn’t have the budget Jean-Pierre Jeunet was working with. In short, this is a delightful little film. It has a few rough edges, but I enjoyed every minute of it.