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CAKE (review)

cake_ver2(This review was originally published in Exclaim! Magazine. It is being published here with their kind permission.)

CAKE

Written by Patrick Tobin / Directed by Daniel Barnz / Starring Jennifer Aniston, Sam Worthington and Anna Kendrick

For a second there, it seemed like we might all have to start referring to her as Academy Award nominee Jennifer Aniston, but those hopes, well hers anyway, were dashed away when she didn’t make the final cut when the nominations were announced. All the same, her persistent campaigning managed to snag her a few high profile accolades, as well as generate a lot of interest in the film itself, CAKE. Naturally, I was curious to see what the fuss was all about and, while I am happy to report that Aniston herself nails this difficult role, the film simply isn’t as good as its star performance.

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CAKE, the fourth film from director Daniel Barnz (BEASTLY, WON’T BACK DOWN), follows Claire (Aniston) as she nears the end of her pain ridden rope. Although not expressly detailed in the film, Claire has recently been in an accident that has left her scarred and in constant, chronic pain. She hasn’t exactly dealt with it well either. In the aftermath, her family was torn apart, she developed a nasty pill addiction and she is now obsessed with killing herself, an obsession only exacerbated by the recent suicide of one of her support group members, Nina (Anna Kendrick). When Nina starts appearing to Claire in the form of a hallucination, Claire starts making some rather odd choices in her life.

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In many ways, this role is tailor made for Aniston. Her fans, and non-fans alike, of which I hear there are many, will be genuinely surprised by this dramatic and effective turn. She really does look like she is in great pain throughout the film and she conveys just how on the edge she truly is brilliantly. To some extent, I believe this is exactly how most of her public imagined she lived her life for a while after her marriage to Brad Pitt ended in such a spectacular fashion. As a result, watching CAKE provides the opportunity to watch her fight her way back from oblivion. Unfortunately, this particular journey is an odd one that most viewers will find too bleak to be appreciated. On the plus side though, at least we now know she can really act.

3 sheep

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