Movie Review: “Cake” – Not Quite Dessert

Written by Samah Ali February 11, 2015

1Jennifer Anniston gets the role of her career by playing Claire Bennett, a pessimistic woman suffering from fibromyalgia. With only two cakes in the movie, “Cake” isn’t that delicious but it keeps you occupied for two hours.

Claire Bennett (Anniston) is your average, privileged white woman from Beverly Hills who bullies her house help, Silvana (Adriana Barazza). But past the first scene, it is clear she has been seriously wounded from a mysterious accident, potentially causing her fibromyalgia. After her friend Nina (Anna Kendrick) from her pain seminars commits suicide, Claire becomes invested in discovering what Nina’s motives were and ultimately comes to terms with her own past by befriending Nina’s husband Roy (Sam Worthington).

“You’re a rich white woman. Have you ever been caught at anything?”

Anniston never breaks character in a refreshing role that shows how unattractive she can be. Always portrayed in a beautiful role, she embodies Claire’s ugly personality and condescending attitude as she pushes away everybody in her life except for her paid companion Silvana. Who knew Anniston could rely on her talents? This was definitely a turning point in her career.

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Upon hearing news and inconsiderately dismissing her grief at her pain seminar, Nina’s ghost ends up haunting Claire and encourages her to commit suicide as well. Claire becomes obsessed with Nina’s death. She threatens her workshop leader Bonnie (Mamie Gummer) for her address and begins to retrace Nina’s steps before she jumped off the freeway. It was creepy but interesting. Anniston was doing something right.

“I hate to break it to you, but I don’t believe in ghosts.”

After befriending Roy, there is a disturbingly awkward chemistry between the two but nothing happens. Phew! With history of pushing away her own husband Jason (Chris Messina), Claire’s intentions lie within what Nina left behind: her five-year-old son Casey (Evan O’Toole). Claire is fascinated with Nina’s decision to kill herself. Claire is also addicted to pills. This doesn’t sound like a promising combination.

The relationship between Silvana and Claire is probably the driving factor for the movie. Although she is paid very little, Silvana puts up with Claire’s bullying because of her terrible accident and repressed sorrow. Silvana is Claire’s mother, best friend and chauffeur. And even though their love is never exchanged, simple gestures like switching roles in front of Silvana’s friends or saving Claire from a train secures their bond. They are attached at the hip and will always be there for each other, no matter their class differences.

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“Cake” showed a different side of a sick patient. Instead of weeping, whining for help and craving for attention, Claire pushed away everyone in her life and insisted on being independent. She was a quiet sufferer of fibromyalgia and did a wonderful job depicting the pain patients go through with simples tasks like washing your face or sitting in a car, things taken for granted every day. Anniston was strong and carried the movie through her pessimism. She was the anti-hero while being the hero and should be playing roles like this for the rest of her career.

Rating: 7/10

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About Samah Ali

Samah Ali

With a deep admiration for film, television, and music, Samah spends most of her free time expressing and sharing her love for the arts. Studying Creative Writing at Western University, she enjoys writing about film & music and shapes her passions with the latest movie or album available.

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