Remembering Adrienne Shelly

Everyone who has ever appreciated the work of writer/director/actor Adrienne Shelly (born on this date in 1964) feels a complicated tangle of emotions about her. She was murdered in 2006, and her final film, WAITRESS, which she wrote and directed, was released the following year to acclaim that she was never able to enjoy. Her career was still on the rise and her death is too cruel to contemplate. A tragedy for cinema and for the many people who loved her.

But this is a body of work that deserves to be celebrated for its vitality of expression. You can get a sense of Shelly’s energy in this trailer for Hal Hartley’s 1990 film TRUST:

That’s an indie movie star for you. But she also wrote and directed films. Here’s the trailer for her directorial debut feature SUDDEN MANHATTAN (1996):

As well as the uniquely Shelly-esque romantic comedy I’LL TAKE YOU THERE (cheesy trailer alert):

It was WAITRESS (2007), however, that seemed ready to introduce her into the top rank of American independent filmmakers. When it was posthumously released, it garnered acclaim from all quarters. It says a lot that even with the loss of Shelly so fresh in people’s minds that they were able to enjoy the film’s light comic touch. Subsequently, the film has become a classic with people who work in restaurant service. Enjoy the trailer below, and maybe shell out a couple of bucks to stream the film here if you haven’t yet had the pleasure.


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