Cake (2015) – Review


Going into this film I had no idea what to expect, I knew it starred Jenifer Aniston in one of those roles that gets talked about as award season approaches. The Trailer sells this film as a dramedy but it should be known it leans more towards drama than comedy.

As the film open we are introduced to Claire Bennet (Aniston) as she endures a meeting with a support group for women suffering from chronic pain syndrome.

Claire, we quickly see, is someone whose world has become very self-centered as she attempts to manage her condition. She is stubborn, rude, and self-medicating as we see her search through her house for hidden caches of pain killers. Claire is not an easy person to like and every character she encounters has a low tolerance for her, apart from her loyal nurse/housekeeper Silvanna played by Adrianna Barrozza.

The film takes a hard look at depression as Claire struggles to deal with her situation and as she dwells more and more on thoughts of suicide, a subject matter that may explain the snubbing of the film by the academy.

Claire becomes fixated with the suicide of Nina, a young woman from her support group, played by Anna Kendrik. In the film Claire has a number of encounters with Nina, hallucinations resulting from her drug addiction. These discussions with Nina are a good way for director Daniel Barnz to represent the debate going on in Claire’s mind.

Claire begins to look into Nina’s life to better understand why she made the decision to end her life. This results in her meeting Roy, Nina’s widow, played by Sam Worthington who is struggling to come to terms with his wife’s suicide and leaving him to raise their young son alone.

At a glance this film appears to be a tough watch given the issues it deals with, but it does have a lot of heart; much of that comes from Silvanna who is determined to look after Claire when no one else will including Claire.

The film’s pacing is slow and even suggesting a sense that Claire’s situation is not a simple one to fix.

Barnz avoids many of the clichés that could have very easily been employed to move the story along. Character relationships tend to develop naturally and tend not to go in directions usually convenient for a movie.

Aniston gives a brave performance taking on a role that audiences will initially struggle to like, but a character who you can understand as you begin to realize the path that has led her to where she is at the time of the film. There are good performances all round with the cast particularly from Barrozza.

Cake is a very human story dealing with tragedy, hardship and the struggles of life, but as I said it has a lot of heart and I think it is ultimately an optimistic movie.



CAST Jennifer Aniston, Anna Kendrik, Sam Worthington, Adrianna Borroza

DIRECTOR  Daniel Barnz


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