“Cake” (2014) – Review by Clay Bloodworth

Cake jen

‘Cake’, a refreshing character study

In just a matter of months, “Cake” – the latest starring role for Jennifer Aniston – went from being on every Oscars short-list to relatively forgotten by most moviegoers. There was much buzz surrounding Aniston’s performance, some even saying she would receive a Best Actress nomination, but that quickly dissipated when her name was no where to be found on the Academy Awards ballot. And here’s the question most of you are wanting to know the answer to:  Was this deserved? Is it in fact not an Oscar-worthy film, or was it wrongly left out? Frankly, I don’t really have a straight answer. However, what I can say is, the movie itself is not anything extraordinary. The only reason I feel it succeeds for the most part is because of Jennifer Aniston’s dedicated performance. Much like “Wild”, it’s a film that simply wouldn’t work without its strong female lead.

It centers around a woman named Claire who is, more or less, contemplating suicide every day of her life. She’s dealing with a traumatic event that is unknown to the audience (until about half-way through) and has become addicted to Oxycontin and many other drugs. She’s constantly wallering in her own self-pity and the only person she has to care for her is a maid that is willing to fuel her drug addiction.

As you can probably tell, it isn’t the most cheery movie. It mainly deals with themes of soul-searching and trying to get past something you cannot change. The main thing that struck me about it, and what sets it apart, is that it’s obviously a story directed at women. There’s been many films about similar subjects, but most of them are from a man’s perspective. The fact that it isn’t afraid to depict a flawed woman’s struggle with her own mortality is refreshing. But, that isn’t to say the movie is without its flaws. It was a tad too sentimental for my taste and definitely could have been cut-down by about twenty minutes. But overall, it’s definitely one to check out if you’re even mildly interested. “Cake” is now playing in select theaters and coming to DVD in April.

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