I’ve been really excited to see “Cake,” because I’m such a big fan of Jen Aniston’s. She’s just one of those women you wish you could be friends with, and I always find myself rooting for. Since this role is much uglier, darker, and complex, as opposed to the beautiful, fun, and lovable characters we are used to seeing her play, I was rooting for her even more, and suspected I would not be disappointed with her performance or the movie. And I was right.
The movie opens up with her clearly in some kind of depression support group, and she is clearly very angry and troubled by some kind of tragic demon inside her, though we don’t know what yet. What I like about this film is that it moves along quite nicely—the pacing doesn’t drag, and you don’t spend 75% of the movie just following around her tortured soul. This film is full of emotions, compassion, perfectly timed witty lines, and an interesting cast.
Throughout the film she remains mostly a miserable woman, but her delivery makes you sympathetic towards her. She’s still very much likable, and I don’t think I’m being biased. I mean, I like Rosamund Pike, but I did not like her at all in Gone Girl. Here, there’s something very real and tangible about her character, and there at least two relationships in her life that bring out in her the warm and caring woman with much gumption and sass that she is.
One of my favorite scenes is when she and her housekeeper, SIlvana, go to Tijuana to buy prescription drugs she get in Mexico without prescription, they run into a couple of Silvana’s old friends, who come off as complete snobs. Sensing this, Claire goes to pay for lunch and makes it look like Silvana has paid for lunch by telling the waiter to bring the change to SIlvana and then thanking Silvana for the lunch. It was a moment that made you want to root for her. It made you go, okay, something happened that made her a miserable, intolerable woman, but somewhere inside that mess is a really good woman, and a really good friend.
Then there’s her relationship with Roy Collins, the husband of a woman in her support group who committed suicide by jumping off the highway where the 110 meets the 105. When they sleep together, they never have sex, they’re just there sort of to feel like someone is there and that they are not alone. Out of this, develops a very sweet and endearing friendship. As the story unfolds, we find out that there was some sort of accident that left her in the pain she is in today, and took her young son’s life. As Roy, too, has a young son, her friendship with them helps her gradually face reality.
When William Macy’s character shows up, and she goes into a rage as he tries to apologize and wishes he could trade places with her son, she goes into a rightful rage, and my heart raged with her. It was such a raw and beautiful moment.
I love dramas that are well-written in such a fashion that you don’t feel entirely depressed or stressed while watching it, nor do you feel entirely depressed or stressed when it’s done. In fact, you feel quite the opposite at the end, because there is a very nice, triumphant moment for Claire Bennett, as she clearly decides to her life back into her own hands.
I thought Jen was quite funny, and quite smart as Claire Bennett. Unlike in any other role we’ve seen her play, here she brings life and depth to a beautiful story.
BIG LOVE & HUGS