CAKE 2014- FILM REVIEW


I love Jennifer Anistion. I feel like she’s just one of those people who are genuinely good hearted. She’s talented, beautiful and always seems humble. Her recent interview for Allure magazine had me waving my arms around in praise (seriously, I’m not kidding) when she spoke about the constant questions towards her and other women in the media around the subject of pregnancy and having children.
“I don’t like [the pressure] that people put on me, on women—that you’ve failed yourself as a female because you haven’t procreated. I don’t think it’s fair. You may not have a child come out of your vagina, but that doesn’t mean you aren’t mothering—dogs, friends, friends’ children.” Jennifer also spoke about how sexist it is that when “a woman going physically unattractive is where you get recognition and some sort of respect. You read things like, ‘Oh, finally, she’s acting!'” when the role they play in a film does not call for them to be heavily made up or ‘glamorized.’
I’d love to have Jennifer as a friend.

But this isn’t really supposed to be an appreciation post for Jennifer, this is supposed to be a review of her most recent film, Cake.

Cake, directed by Daniel Barnz, is about Claire (played by Jennifer), who after an accident is suffering from chronic pain. Nina (played by Anna Kendrick), a woman in her chronic pain support group, commits suicide and Claire becomes almost obsessed with her and the details of her death.
Not a typical role for Jennifer, but not completely foreign to her either as she has done more ‘serious’ work or rather drama films in the past, like her role in The Good Girl for example. 

I absolutely loved Jennifer’s role in Cake. Although not a typical, laugh out loud comedy role, the character of Claire was still funny in her own way. Darkly comic, she was funny with a sharp edge.

The character of Claire was probably a hard role to prepare for and act authentically because of course, Claire is suffering from chronic pain, prescription drug addiction and depression. But Jennifer and her performance alone really made the film great for me. At times I felt the actual plot was falling short, and even a little over complicated at times, but it was really Jennifer’s performance that brought it all together and really made the film a unique human experience in grief, pain and loss.

Going back to what I said about the sharp edge to the character of Claire, I really felt that I was watching a real person on screen as they went through their struggle. And what was even better about this film is, it wasn’t a straight cut drama where everything was resolved at the end or where the person goes through a drastic change and is suddenly a better person. Cake seemed to try and push the boundaries, including scenes of hallucination and the fact that Claire was still her difficult, unique self by the end. Instead, it was the little things that happened by the end that changed for her, and even though they were seemingly small, they were incredibly substantial for Claire, her life and her healing process.

Actually, I thought all the characters in the film were really authentic, unique and real in their own way. Sam Worthington who played Roy, the husband of Nina who committed suicide, was equally as unique as Claire. It also showed him expressing his grief with the suicide of his wife, in the form of intense anger and hatred. I thought this was really a refreshing look at grief and loss, not everyone reacts the same way, not everyone’s reaction or experience is the same. I really liked how both Claire and Roy were unapologetically themselves, despite maybe making it hard for people to connect with them or know how to react to them. They were not just cookie cutter people going through a hard time. They were authentic, raw, and shamelessly complicated people.

Overall I felt like the characters in Cake were really what made the film worth watching, like Adriana Barraza who played Silvana, Claire’s housekeeper/carer/friend. She was a lovely, endearing person and it was really touching to watch her and Claire develop their unconventional kind of friendship where they both kind of drove each other crazy but seemed to love and care about each other anyway.

I’d definitely recommend watching this film, solely for the characters themselves. Jennifer really out did herself with this role, and I really hope she gets the recognition and acclaim she deserves for it.

“That really is homemade chocolate frosting…”, “Damn, the thief can cook!”

My rating- 8/10

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