Cake is a movie about chronic pain. Jennifer Aniston plays Claire Bennett, a woman who is suffering from unspecified injuries. The film starts at a support group, where the group leader, Annette, meekly played by Felicity Huffman, is discussing the loss of Nina (Anna Kendrick), due to her suicide. Claire reacts poorly, and is invited to leave.
We see this consistently – Claire is not a nice person. She lashes out at everyone. She’s rude to her maid Sylvana (Adriana Barraza), who keeps her going. She’s awful to her physical therapist, and other patients. We find she has an interesting relationship with Nina, to say the least. Claire is clearly in hurting, but we find that there’s as much emotional pain as there is physical. Where she goes with it, I leave to you to discover.
I expected a few things from this movie, given the subject matter. As you would expect in a movie like this, there is drug-seeking, there is a lot of hostility. I was pleased that it did not fulfill all of those expectations. Relationships barge in to the story, and help muddy the story. Several people appear at random times throughout. Not everything was spelled out, which leaves you to connect the dots and decide the exact nature of those missing details. The choice of spirit animal is appropriate.
Jennifer Aniston puts in a good performance here. I’ve always said that she’s the best actor from the cast of Friends, and this only solidifies it.
- I do have to point out what I see is becoming a movie trope. Much like actors have to be in a prison movie at some point in their career, actresses are finding it necessary to play against their normal glamorous nature – Charlize Theron in Monster, Nicole Kidman in The Hours, and so on. I’m not against that in the least! I welcome the change, but I hope that doesn’t become an obligatory thing.
- FYI, the name Claire Bennett stuck in my craw for a while, until I realized that Claire Bennet was a character on the NBC show Heroes.