Release Date: January 23rd 2015 (Houston opening)
Director: Daniel Barnz
Writer: Patrick Tobin (screenplay)
Main Cast: Jennifer Anniston, Adriana Barraza, Anna Kendrick, Sam Worthington, Felcity Huffman, Mamie Gummer, William H. Macy
MPAA Rating: Rated R for language, substance abuse and brief sexuality
Studio: Cinelou Films
Official Sites: Website | IMDb
Claire Simmons (Jennifer Aniston) is in pain. Her physical pain is evident in the scars that line her body and the way she carries herself, wincing with each tentative step. She’s no good at hiding her emotional pain either. Blunt to the point of searing insult, Claire’s anger seethes out of her with nearly every interaction. She has driven away her husband, her friends— even her chronic-pain support group has kicked her out. The only one left in Claire’s otherwise solitary existence is her housekeeper-cum-caretaker, Silvana (Academy Award nominee Adriana Barraza), who barely tolerates her boss’ need for liquor and prescription pills. But the suicide of Nina (Academy Award nominee Anna Kendrick), one of Claire’s fellow chronic-pain group members, prompts another fixation. In pursuing questions about the death of a woman she barely knew, Claire explores the boundaries between life and death, abandonment and heartbreak, danger and salvation. As she inserts herself into the lives of Nina’s husband (Sam Worthington) and the son Nina left behind, Claire just might find salvation.
Cake is a film about what happens when something should have killed you, but you’re not dead. Instead you have to deal with aftermath of what should have killed you, and you’re not sure that you came out better for having survived.
Cake stars Jennifer Anniston as Claire Simmons, a woman who has survived a personal tragedy and is left with emotional scars, physical scars, chronic pain and chemical addition. We never meet Claire before her personal tragedy, but post tragedy, we wouldn’t want to run into her on the street. Claire is a bitter and angry person with a biting tone. Having driven away her husband, the only person in Claire’s life is Silvana, the housekeeper (Adriana Barraza). She doesn’t get along with her medical providers and her support group wants her to find a different group.
It is a difficult movie to watch. Self-destruction is never easy for me. I watched Claire go from one self-destructive behavior to the next. And because the film doesn’t disclose the full depth of Claire’s tragedy until the end, the self-destruction comes off as wasteful. That said, the film is not entirely dark, thanks to the inclusion of Silvana.
When Claire has no one who is willing to put up with her, she still has Silvana, her housekeeper. And early in the film, Silvana’s daughter makes it known that Silvana works too hard. She isn’t paid enough or treated well. But, Silvana is unwilling to give up on Claire. In fact, Silvana goes out of her way to take care of Claire. That was the first time I saw a spark, a light. There is something that Silvana knows that the audience doesn’t know, yet. Claire is not a lost cause. There is hope. Because Silvana doesn’t give up on Claire, neither should the audience. The ending is great. Much needed ray of sunshine.
It is beautifully acted by everyone in the cast. I especially appreciated Jennifer Anniston’s portrayal. I also appreciate when serious themes are treated seriously and without sugar-coating. Watch this movie for the two female leads. Great performances, just don’t expect to laugh.
CAKE OPENS TODAY IN HOUSTON AT:
- Studio 30 Theatres – Houston / Houston, TX
- Gulf Pointe 30 Theatres / Houston, TX
- Greenway Grand Palace Stadium 24 Cinema / Houston, TX
- Sundance Cinemas Houston / Houston, TX Willowbrook 24 Theatres / Houston, TX
- Deerbrook 24 Theatres / Humble, TX
- First Colony 24 Theatres / Sugar Land, TX Houston
- Marq*E Stadium 23 Cinemas / Houston, TX
- Katy Mills 20 Theatres / Katy, TX
- Santikos Silverado Stadium 19 / Tomball, TX
- Santikos Palladium 22 / Richmond, TX