Movie Review: Cake

The film Cake is a drama starring Jennifer Aniston and detailing a woman’s struggle with chronic pain. Since seeing the trailer months ago, I knew this was a must see for a number of reasons.

I seek out films that don’t fit into the typical movie category with lots of sex appeal, action-packed scenes that lack substance, and campy dialogue that does not resemble real life. This film does none of these things.

Aniston is scarred, in pain, rigid, and dressed down like a person in pain would be dressed. Only once in the movie does she “doll” herself up with curls and a nice outfit, but even then, it is very toned down, feminine but not your average Hollywood bombshell look. The best thing is that Aniston’s character lacks like-ability. She is mean, pessimistic, and bitter.

The film itself focuses on a character without the unrealistic expectation of a total transformation. The truth is that we rarely experience change as fast as movies will try to portray them. Instead we see the struggle of a person trying to handle a series of dark and horrible events.

Cake also passes the Bechdel Test. For more details on that criteria, watch this great TED talks video.

Bottom line is that we see a female to female relationship that does not involve competing over a man or crying over broken hearts caused by rugged men. The relationship between the main character and her housekeeper is complex and not a simple relationship. In fact, the housekeeper is the only person who seems to be watching out for her and keeping things together.

While I love that dynamic, that doesn’t mean there isn’t some tiny bit of Romance included. It just doesn’t consume the whole focus of a woman’s mind.

So we have a main character that is female with bigger problems than love and romance. There is an additional character played by Anna Kendrick who is the catalyst for the plot. Kendrick’s character committed suicide prior to the start of the film. Aniston is consumed with a curiosity of suicide. The viewer watches as she toys with death in the beginning, telling us that struggle, identity, and purpose are a choice and not an assumed or assigned role.

Finally, I’ve decided to keep spoilers out of this post. But I will say that I enjoyed the ending of the film. The viewers are brought along this journey, but you don’t fully understand it until the very end when a fact is revealed and things tie together like a bow in an inappropriate place.

As an actress, I’ve liked some of Jennifer Aniston’s film. But she does typically play the hot chick or women in messy break ups. This film shows her true style and gives her the opportunity to act outside of Hollywood’s narrow stereotypes for women. If any of these themes appeal to you, then Cake is a great film you should put in the queue or grab from Redbox.

More movie reviews to come. Got any suggestions for reviews? Please leave me suggestions in the comments area!


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