Review: Cake

Jennifer Aniston in Cake

This isn’t a review of Cake. This is a great big squee about Cake. If you haven’t seen it, watch it now. A big thank you to @joyfulng on Twitter for urging me to watch it.

Spoilers ahead.

Jennifer Aniston and Adriana Barraza in a scene from Cake
Jennifer Aniston and Adriana Barraza in a scene from Cake

The main character, Claire, is played by Jennifer Aniston. She’s a woman in chronic pain – physical pain and psychic pain. Her maid/girl Friday Silvana is played by Adriana Barraza. These two actresses are brilliant together and carry a big load of the story by themselves.

Silvana is just about the only human on earth who can put up with Claire. Claire gets thrown out of her pain support group. Her physical therapist wants to dump her. Her husband left her. But Silvana sticks by her.

The rest of the remarkable cast in this film includes Anna Kendrick, Sam Worthington, Mamie Gummer, Felicity Huffman, William H. Macy, Chris Messina, Britt Robertson, and Manuel Garcia-Rulfo.

The brilliant screenplay was written by Patrick Tobin. Daniel Barnz directed, with Jennifer Aniston as Executive Producer. Honestly, I was surprised to reach the end of the film and see male names as writer and director. I was sure throughout the film that no one but a woman would write a woman’s pain as well as this film is written.

This film doesn’t explain itself. It happens. We don’t know the details of the injuries that caused Claire to be in pain. She beats the crap out of the William H. Macy character in one scene and we never are told what he did to earn her rage. We don’t know why she responds to the suicide of a fellow member of her pain support group the way she does. I love that lack of exposition. We’re just in it from the first second.By the end of the film we have an idea, the barest idea, of what happened to her and her family and why she does what she does. I love that lack of exposition. We’re just in it from the first second. We’re dropped into Claire’s drug-soaked half-hallucination, half-real, 100% unbearable world and left to fail or overcome with her.

Jennifer Aniston was nominated for a Golden Globe for Cake. Aniston’s performance was definitely award-worthy. The film is available on Netflix now.

The Trailer

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