A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
It's important to have the courage to live your dreams and honor your inner child.
Positive Role Models
Jenna's feelings of being trapped in her life due to her broken, abusive marriage and dead-end job lead her to feel like having an extramarital affair is a release, even though she's aware that it's morally wrong. But after having her baby, Jenna finds the courage she needs to leave both her marriage and her affair. She's also gifted with the restaurant where she's been working, allowing her to give her daughter a better life.
Jenna has agency and is a strong female character. Most of the main characters are played by White actors, with Black actor Charity Dawson (as Jenna's friend Becky) the exception. Secondary character Nurse Norma is played by Black actor Anastacia McCleskey, and there are Black actors in the ensemble. But Becky is the only character of color whose interior life viewers learn about. She's fleshed out and isn't stereotypical despite being in a "best friend" role; we learn about her struggles in her marriage, in which she's her husband's caretaker, and how she copes with the stress. And Dawn is in some ways a stereotypical "nerd" (she watches the History channel religiously, wears glasses, isn't especially fashionable, etc.), she up-ends that stereotype by being a sexual woman and finding love. In somewhat of a role-reversal, male OB-GYN Dr. Pomatter is defined more by his relationships with women (Jenna and his wife) than his own agency. Co-director Diane Paulus is a Japanese American woman, and both credited writers -- Adrienne Shelly and Jessie Nelson -- are women.
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Violence & Scariness
Domestic abuse: violent temper and threats, destruction of property, raising a fist.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Stylistic portrayals of sex (gyrations, sex positions simulated to comedic effect), kissing.
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Language includes "ass," "s--tshow," "a--hole," "bulls--t," "hell," "f---ing," "dumba--." Also exclamatory use of "oh my God," "oh, Lord."
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
A character drinks from a beer bottle.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Waitress: The Musical is a filmed version of the hit stage show based on the 2007 movie. It tells the story of Jenna (Sara Bareilles), a waitress who has a talent for making pies but feels stuck in both her marriage and her job. The story features a clear message about having the courage to change your life for the better, but it also has some mature content. Characters kiss, and there are stylized/comedic depictions of sex (gyrations, simulated sex positions) and more serious depictions of domestic abuse (violent temper/threats, destruction of property, raising a fist). Language includes "f--king," "s--tshow," "a--hole," ""hell," "oh my God," and more. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Despite it the fact that it deals with mature issues like domestic violence and existentialism, for the most part, this is a well-crafted, heartfelt, funny musical. It's the one that Bareilles cut her Broadway teeth on, and she shows just how much her character and the story means to her as she embodies Jenna from the inside out. Dawson and Houlahan are great counterparts as Becky and Dawn, and, overall, Waitress: The Musical makes you feel warm inside from seeing a woman rise above her less-than-ideal conditions. The end does feel a bit rushed (in order to cram in a happy conclusion), but ultimately, Waitress: The Musical proves why it has become so beloved among Broadway fans.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.