Cake (2014)

Director: Daniel Barnz
Writer: Patrick Tobin (screenplay)
Stars: Jennifer Aniston, Adriana Barraza, Anna Kendrick, Sam Worthington

Running Time:  92 mins.

Cake is subtle but emotion-filled and Jennifer Aniston’s performance in it is an unexpected pleasure.  Here she very effectively plays Claire, a woman struggling with chronic pain and disfigurement following an accident, the details of which are only revealed later in the film.  

She bears a bitter and uncaring attitude that she unleashes, sometimes humorously, upon others in a variety of shrewish ways.  First in the line of fire is her kind and understanding housekeeper Silvana (Adriana Barraza) who also drives her wherever she needs to go, including down to Mexico to smuggle a large amount of pain meds back into the U.S.  

After learning of the suicide of Nina (Anna Kendrick), a fellow member from her chronic pain therapy group, headed up by Annette (Felicity Huffman), Claire becomes obsessed with the details.  This leads her to initiate an odd relationship with the dead woman’s husband Roy (Sam Worthington).  At the same time, Claire is confronted by crazy hallucinations of Nina which ultimately forces her to select the road forward she will travel, continued guilt or redemption.

There’s nothing pat and dried about this film thanks to a lean script and Aniston’s powerful performance.   There is not a single moment where you feel she is not being genuine to her character’s physical disability.  Equally strong and the best parts of the film is her relationship with Silvana.

Lotta says Aniston’s got the goods to play serious drama with just the right comic tone.  I really enjoyed Cake, a tightly structured black dramedy.