102 min - Drama
Review: Matt Mungle
Jennifer Aniston delivers her most polished and refined role
yet in the Daniel Barnz directed CAKE. Gone is the perky, flawless
face that sells us Aveeno Positively Radiant cosmetics and in
return we get a shot of reality. It's as if the role is her way
of showing us the wizard behind the curtain. The irony is not
lost that an actress in her late forties who sells makeup would
take a role in which she wears none. This adult drama is an unapologetic
story treated passionately by fine acting.
When we first meet Claire Bennett (Jennifer Aniston) she is at
a Chronic Pain therapy group. It is clear she has anger issues,
or at least sarcasm issues, along with the pain. In fact most
of her dialouge is laced with snide remarks. Her face and body
are marked with scars and she spends her days living off of pain
killers and white wine. When Nina Collins (Anna Kendrick), one
of the ladies in her support group, commits suicide Claire takes
on an unhappy fascination (including hallucinations) with her,
including befriending Nina's husband Roy (Sam Worthington). As
the story progresses and Claire's story comes to light you feel
even more sadness for her.But there is a journey to healing that
is often as equally painful as it is joyful.
Aniston has been accused, though sweetly, of playing the same
character in everything she does. Only the names change. For the
most part that is true. While watching this film you can see and
hear Rachel Green in Claire's actions and voice inflections. For
other actors that would be unacceptable and frowned upon. But
for Jennifer Aniston it somehow is ok. In this film she proves
that acting for her comes naturally and even though this is one
of her most emotionally raw roles she delivers it honestly and
without fault. In fact you feel like you shouldn't like Claire.
But you do. It is totally Jennifer and totally ok.
A lot of the film is Claire having conversations with a dead
Nina. This could be brought on my high doses of medication, guilt,
or just something to escape the pain. Nina pops in and out and
with her she brings some balance to Claire's daily recovery. Another
wonderful character in this film is Claire's housekeeper Silvana
(Adriana Barraza). Silvana puts up with a lot of Claire's acidic
remarks and gruff demeanor. She watched over her without pampering.
Their's is a relationship that is full of respect and unspoken
CAKE is rated R for language, substance abuse and brief sexuality.
As mentioned this is an adult film. Aniston's performance is fantastic
as many award nominations have acknowledged. I give it 4 out of
5 child proof caps. It is not easy to watch at times but Jenn's
portrayal of Claire keeps you involved and makes the viewing worthwhile.