Escapades of a successful bakery owner: It’s Complicated


From the ‘entrepreneur’s’ point of view, this movie is about the life of a lady, who owns a popular bakery. It’s Complicated was released in 2009 on Christmas Day.

From the family kitchen to the bakery – we hear of many women today, who explore this avenue. In fact, we all enjoy the occasional baking adventure – mixing, tasting the batter, watching the rising loaf, the whifting aroma. Now, imagine doing it as a full-time profession: weaving magic with the whisk, being sure about the right ingredients and catering to customers, who love your treats.

Yes, you could say this is what the woman in this movie experiences. But, the catch is that she leads a very “complicated” life. Actually, situations turn around to plunge her life into complications. And, how!  Of course, we could say from the entrepreneur’s point of view, she had reached the top of the baking game.  She has tasted it’s like to be a professional pastry chef and entrepreneur.

Cut to the story here. It is the story of a woman who feels she has come on her own. As the movie opens, Jane Adler (Streep) attends an outdoor party, at her son’s college graduation where she inevitably bumps into her ex of ten years, Jake (Alec Baldwin), with his much younger second wife, Agness (Lake Bell). Divorced for a decade, and yet, the Adlers are on very pleasant terms, as Jane and Jake hit it off. They slip into a comfortable intimacy that did not dissolve, like their relationship did!

Looking at the character of Jane, Meryl Streep plays an accomplished, radiant woman, who seems to be very independent – after all, she runs her own bakery/restaurant. At one point, she actually bakes chocolate croissants on screen. She plays Jane close to herself though a more glamorous version. Plus what adds to this image is that she lives in a billionaire’s mansion, with a huge drive and magnificent sea view, to which she wants to build an extension! Thus she displays a focus on what’s good for her business, like any business person would do today. She has succeeded in this – for, she appears to be the successful business woman here.  Her success is based in part on this focus. Her mindset is clear-cut, for she refuses to spend her time on anything that does not expand her entrepreneurial ventures. And, her hard work and resulting profits combine to mould her success story.

While we notice this outlook, the question remains – how often have we allowed someone else to drag our focus and energy away from our business,  and what has it cost us? For, we see her dragged into the physical play with her ex, as wine and reminiscence lead to a night of love. Meanwhile, waiting in the wings, is a patient gentleman Steve Martin as Adam, an architect hired to make Jane’s kitchen even bigger and more beautiful. Divorced himself two years earlier, Adam is fun.  Finally, Jane leaves alone and returns to her picture-book Santa Barbara home. She walks into her magazine-layout kitchen. You can see the gleaming copper pots hanging from a ceiling rack, the bowl of luscious magenta plums, and we must not miss that long farm-style table made for complicated cooking.

Again we notice here is a lady, who always maintains quality control. For, everything is perfect – it’s a “magazine-layout kitchen”. And all her efforts, had earned her fame for artfully crafted bread and cakes.  And, most importantly, success too!

The desire to create a product that stands alone is nothing new. But we don’t get to see her experimenting with more modern techniques and expanding her bakery operations, as she would have done, if her business was alive and kicking today! Frankly, her interest in maintaining quality control in her business never wavered. One thing is clear – she does take full ownership for her business.

After all, “It’s Complicated” stars a woman whose image as an entrepreneur stands out singularly. We would request you to see the movie, and tell us – which ‘entrepreneur’ quality did you find most inspiring?

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