Cake (2014): Forgiveness is a Bitter Pill to Swallow

Posted: May 29, 2015 in Drama

cake__2014__by_myrmorko-d8bq6psAttending another meeting of her support group, Claire Bennett initially avoids talking about the recent loss of one of their members. When finally pressured to speak, she chooses to avoid her feelings and simply point out the physical nature of Nina’s suicide and talks about how messed up she was to abandon her family. Getting subsequently kicked out of said group, she is left to her own devices and the support of her hired help. As her chronic pain continues to eat away at her emotional stability, she loses the support of her physical therapist and begins to run out of her prescription medicine. The stress also seems to be causing hallucinations of being haunted by Nina’s ghost, who seems more interested in taunting Claire than trying to scare her.

Review: As a venture away from her typical film roles, Jennifer Aniston (Claire Bennett) stretched herself to play a woman with chronic pain, both externally and internally. While her acting mixed with the storytelling kept the reality of her situation a mystery until later in the film, the pain was truly palpable and Jennifer’s physical transformation made her acting of the condition truly believable. Just as engaging was Adriana Barraza (Silvana). While her job was to take care of Jennifer’s character no matter how difficult the situation, she was able to show a different type of unconditional love and care that may have been just a bit difficult to believe. Sam Worthington (Roy Collins) was a little less interesting, mostly because his story seemed to be out of sync with the loss of his wife (played by Anna Kendrick). He seemed to have a solemn sense about him, but there was a lack of realistic struggle portrayed through his interactions with Claire.

127231_ori 127235_ori 127234_ori

The film was in competition with a few other interesting personal dramas during 2014, but the transformation of Jennifer Aniston and a story less told in comparison to other stories of illness and loss made this one particularly intriguing. Claire’s pain was clearly a physical one, with intense muscle and joint soreness, as well as sensitive nerves. The physical trauma clearly showed itself on her face and upper chest. Besides the physical, the psychological pain seemed to be much worse. Claire was stuck in a stasis of hate against the world. She tried her best to avoid anything that reminded her of the loss of her son, but she also refused to leave her life and home behind. Meeting Roy felt like something new to break her from her slump, but it also served as a reminder of her obsession with what it would be like to simply let go like Nina did.

Cake may not be straightforward about its story or about why it is titled as it is, but it feels authentic in the way that Claire struggles through her pain and how she begins to find resolution through some eye-opening experiences.

Dan’s Rating: 3.5/5


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s