A story about tremendous loss, heartbreak, addiction, forgiveness, and recovery, Cake is a beautiful and inspiring film driven by a note-worthy performance by Jennifer Aniston.
Director Daniel Barnz’s (2012’s Won’t Back Down) film follows Claire (Jennifer Aniston), a woman who suffers from chronic pain from an injury. Claire attends a weekly support group led by stern yet hopeful Annette (Felicity Huffman), which was recommended by her doctor in order to help her grieve and recover.
Claire’s husband (Chris Messina) left her after her unwillingness to get better and her alienation from the world, so Claire depends on her caretaker Silvana (Adriana Barraza), who helps around the house and drives Claire to the drug store when she needs her medicine. When a member of Claire’s support group, Nina (Anna Kendrick), commits suicide, Claire becomes fascinated with her death and forms an unexpected relationship with Nina’s husband Roy (Sam Worthington). An unlikely friendship occurs, and this relationship is the start of something new for Claire, who begins to find a way to deal with her anger, depression, and pain.
Jennifer Aniston is exquisite as Claire. She is the driving force of the film and lifts Patrick Tobin’s screenplay to a memorable level. At times, the story drifts, but it is Aniston who brings it back into focus with her raw boned performance. Though Aniston was nominated at this year’s Golden Globes and SAG Awards, she was snubbed by the Academy Awards. The snub certainly surprised moviegoers and critics, but Aniston’s career has hit a stride and she will hopefully continue to play more characters with multi-layered personalities.
Although Anna Kendrick has little screen time to play with, she and Aniston have a fun and wild chemistry as support-group friends. Sam Worthington surprises as the widower who befriends Claire, and Adriana Barraza is hilarious and endearing as Claire’s housekeeper and, at times, best friend.
In a tour-de-force performance by Jennifer Aniston, Cake is a film that speaks on the sensitive subject of pain-medication addiction and how a tragic accident can change one’s life forever. However, the film’s most important theme is how we can overcome the worst events with strength, forgiveness, and love.