Rated: R for language, substance abuse and brief sexuality. Reviewed by: Jim Release date: January 23, 2015 Released by: Cinelou Releasing
An interesting and somewhat understated wrenching tale just isn't that likable or emotionally fulfilling, often like its main character Claire Simmons. The filmmakers could have explored its subject with more originality when considering earlier efforts like Todd Haynes's "Safe" starring current Oscar frontrunner Julianne Moore (Still Alice).
But, Cake, starring Hollywood's most recognizable actress (the soon-to-be-married again) Jennifer Aniston (Horrible Bosses 2) as a chronic-pain sufferer Claire, has a measured breadth reflected in her performance, arguably her most assured since The Good Girl. Some discerning cineastes may not be copacetic with its narrative content in a shift from misanthropic, acerbic rancor to commensurate well-being.
Claire is trying to get on with her life after trauma has left her quite cattish and trying to understand her
condition may offer some intrigue as she becomes a Percocet user, being able to return a favor for her doctor's daughter.
Felicity Huffman is the head of a support group to which Claire belongs and she develops a bond with the widower, Roy (Sam Worthington), of a suicide victim Nina (Anna Kendrick, represented in dream or hallucinatory interludes). The way Roy comes across thanks to the sensitivity drawn work of Worthington helps to eventually make Claire (a deglamorized Aniston with some scarring but little makeup work) a little more ingratiating than expected. Also, Adriana Barraza (Babel) is pretty effective with some levity as a housekeeper who assists in a trip to Tijuana.
Yet, helmer Daniel Barnz can't elevate the material for the appropriate response as Claire's hardship is more acclivity for the thespian who has received a Screen Guild Actor Nomination (but, alas, no Oscar nomination) and is more revelatory than in recent more mainstream, aforementioned turns.