Over the years Jennifer Aniston has transformed herself from TV star to film star taking on mostly comedic roles with a few dramatic performances thrown in the mix. Her latest film Cake, received a lot of attention expecting award season recognition, but sadly did not. Featuring a impressive cast including Adriana Barraza, Anna Kendrick, Sam Worthington, Felicity Huffman, William H. Macy, Chris Messina, and Lucy Punch does this film live up to the hype or will it be too painful to sit through?
Cake follows a woman who becomes fascinated by the suicide of a woman in her chronic pain support group. As she uncovers the details of her suicide and develops a poignant relationship with her husband, she also grapples with her own, very raw personal tragedy. Aniston gets a chance to really stretch her drama acting in this role and knocks it out of the park delivering one of the best performances of her career. Her character is overrun with both emotional and physical pain that requires her to bring it to life in every aspect of her performance. She brings the physical pain to the forefront to perfection, but uses the anger and dark humor to disguise the internal struggles she is dealing with making it a character with a lot of depth that you are instantly intrigued by. The rest of the cast do a great job, with most of them only briefly appearing as this is Aniston’s show all the way. The story is simple on the surface, but much like the layers of her character the story slowly peels them back as well to reveal so much more. The only real issue the film has is the pacing at times. This is a character driven film that moves at a snail’s pace at times, usually out of necessity, but other times just felt off. These moments are brief and Aniston’s performance quickly makes you forget about these small issues and brings you right back into the fold of this emotional journey.
As the film progresses so does her character, but for every few steps in a positive direction she takes she goes backwards even further making it feel like she is a lost cause. This aspect helps to grow the tension as they unveil the truth to the cause of her physical and emotional pain bringing her personal journey full circle. This sets things up to be the sort of film that has no real ending, but instead a beginning to so much more for her life. The ending shot of the film perfectly sums up her struggle and where she is fighting to get to without showing much of anything and that is all Aniston.