- Directed by: Daniel Barnz
- With: Jennifer Aniston, Adriana Barraza, Anna Kendrick
- 102 Minutes
I don’t remember ever seeing Jennifer Aniston doing a performance like the one she did in Cake… She was like a completely different person and I must say that during the whole movie I felt compelled with her great and emotional performance. Jennifer deserves all the attention she is getting but unfortunately she is the only thing that shines in a movie with not enough potential to impress. In Cake, the viewer is invited to meet Claire Simmons, interpreted by Aniston, who is in constant pain (both physical and emotional) after a terrible accident that changed her life forever. While Claire tries to deal with the scars that fill her body, she also has to deal with hallucinations that represent her anger with the world surrounding her. After losing the support of her husband, friends and even of the support group that was helping her heal her pain, Claire sees her maid, Silvana, as the only support she could get even though she is against her addiction on drugs and alcohol. Just to make things even worse, Claire starts obsessing with the suicide of one of her colleagues from the support group, Nina, and she starts searching for answers that explain what happened. In this journey, Claire finds herself in the middle of the boundaries between life and death while she meets Nina’s husband and son. Together they try to find their path towards a new and better life.
Cake is an interesting journey of a woman that after being abandoned by those who were trying to help her, decides to change her attitudes by stopping her drug addiction and by leaving her life with a smile on her face. However with the lack of chemistry between all the characters and a story that is constantly trying to captivate its viewers without any success, the potential of the whole movie lies in a great performance by an actress out of her comfort zone. Jennifer Aniston deals with the pain in a really impressive and emotional way since her addiction makes everything a lot harder to go away. While she believes her condition has improved, everyone tries to convince her that she needs urgent help and therefore she closes herself in a huge bubble of negation and ignorance. Unable to deal with her anger issues, Claire sees hope at the end of the road when she meets Nina’s husband, a man who was trying to find his own way to happiness and who was still angry with the selfishness of his wife who decided to abandon him and their young son. Together, they start comforting each other in a not romantic way and they seize that good energy to heal part of the constant pain. Claire goes into several stages before deciding what to do with her life… First she ignores everyone and she gets upset about everything in a matter of minutes, then she tries to see life in a different perspective by quitting drugs. But with an addiction so strong, Claire’s struggle for happiness will demand every bit of strength she has and every type of help she can get.
Cake can be seen as a “feel-good” movie since it’s ultimately about reaching happiness but the whole story is filled with a dark and quiet pace that prevents it from being only considered as this. Except for Claire, there is nothing in the characters that can emotion its viewers… Well, there’s the father and son who were abandoned but even this side plot is left outside of the picture when Claire is on the screen. Basically the whole thing is about her and everything else is secondary… Because of all this, the way the characters relate with each other, their behaviors and their thoughts are almost irrelevant while one is judging the whole movie. Cake is one of those movies that try a lot to surprise and to intrigue its viewers and thanks to a great performance by Jennifer Aniston, this objective was almost fulfilled. However, nothing besides this works that well, so Cake never impresses that much. Ultimately, the whole movie is a profound and emotional look on the life of a desperate woman who is trying to find a reason for happiness after a terrible incident that changed her life forever.
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