A woman with chronic pain in the wake of a car crash tries to live day to day.
Cake is really all about one thing – reminding people that Jennifer Aniston can act. And in that capacity it’s a very successful thing.
The 46 year old actress is a bit of a revelation here. She’s delved into the dramatic world before but it’s more than a decade since The Good Girl and her recent big screen efforts have been spotty comedy fare.
But Claire is a complex and finely crafted thing. The scars are obviously on her face and body but they’re just as noticeable in her manner and her mind. In fact, the scars might even detract from Aniston’s performance which sidesteps the cliché of being merely bitchy to show a women who is battling something she might not be able to overcome.
It’s a real starring role, maybe even award-baiting, but Aniston makes it feel raw and real, rarely sinking to a moment of grandstanding for the sake of it. The high praise for her performance is fully justified.
Unfortunately the rest of the film never quite lives up to that promise. The narrative is a meandering beast, with the end of the story always in doubt. That works up to a point but the second hour really starts to drag as minor characters are introduced to no purpose and the things start to get tiresome.
The film is absolutely worth seeking out for Aniston’s performance alone, trying to survive with a complex series of choices and consequences which would be incredibly hard to live with. But the whole affair never really finds its feet, with an overlong running time and little for the accomplished supporting cast to do.