Cake (2014) Movie Review Cake (2014) Movie Review
"The style is so bleak, yet the humor stays relatively light, which leaves you confused as to whether this was intended as a black... Cake (2014) Movie Review

If there was ever an actress that got robbed by the academy for her performance, it must have been Jennifer Aniston. Her role in the 2002 black comedy “The Good Girl” was nothing short of sensational, and she did the unthinkable by transitioning from a household tv-star to a full-blown drama-darling. 12 years later, she is at it again with a different kind of pain, and this time she really sells it, reminding us all of just how capable she is at what she does.

Claire is a lonely woman who suffers from chronic pain, living her every day without being able to lead a normal life because of it. After making a scene at her support group, she becomes obsessed with the death of a young woman, who jumped off a bridge. The deeper she goes, the more she becomes reminded of the demons from her past, until she can’t do anything but try to face them.

Honestly, this is a very mediocre film. Had it not been for Jennifer Aniston’s transformative and subdued presence, it would barely have had anything interesting to say about depression, and it certainly wouldn’t have been a candidate for any kind of award recognition. The style is so bleak, yet the humor stays relatively light, which leaves you confused as to whether this was intended as a black comedy or straight-up drama. The balance is totally off, and whenever things start to get serious, someone always breaks the tension with a line of suppose-to-be-funny-dialogue. So sad, considering how many opportunities the filmmakers had to make the film just as riveting as their leading lady.

Aniston is really the only thing even worth talking about, because as she gets more and more confrontational, the more the subsidiary characters fade into the background. Like low static noise from the tv, or colourless wallpaper. That being said, I will compliment Aniston for basically carrying the entire film by herself. Her reserved and apathetic approach to Claire brought out so much compassion in me as a viewer. I truly believed she was going through hell, and the fact that she isn’t very reactive most of the time really shows that this woman is unable to think about anything else but pain and suffering.

But still, there is only so much she can do for this slow-paced snoozer and its dull development curve. All the characters are so vaguely written, almost as if the screenwriter didn’t know what to do with them. So instead of building towards any conflicts, we get to see pointless things like people going across the Mexican border to get drugs, or sitting on the bathroom when a kid walks in on them. A lot of potential is spilled on the floor for that reason, and what we’re left with is a flower struggling to bloom in infertile ground.

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Mathias Folsted Film/Music/TV critic, columnist, and news-writer

An aspiring filmmaker, film critic and YouTuber. Previous experience include extensive work for the largest danish film site, www.filmz.dk, where I served as junior editor, film critic, columnist, and news writer. Also a graduate from the European Film College, I've been a lover of motion pictures for as long as I can remember. My criticism is always honest, but above all emotional.

  • Dee

    Good review, that sounds pretty accurate. Looks like Oscar-bait that was designed to get Aniston an Award.

  • Abe

    Yeah if you really want an oscar you take the makeup off or put a ton on.

  • Mr Nick Nightly

    Why does tone have to be “balanced?” Why can’t a film be bleak with humor? Or any combination of things? I want a roller coaster in a film. Fuck the fucking rules and the peons who need them.

  • Mr Nick Nightly

    Oh yeah, fuck this movie.

  • Mathias, you will probably be pleased to know that your countryman filmmaker Nicolas Winding Refn is going to be a guest in a podcast done by the podcasters Shut Up Kids net February 25.

  • Or a movie could stick to one tone and go fro it from start to finish. Be bleak or lighthearted from start to finish.
    Also, i don’t necessarily believe that a movie needs conflict to have drama. That type of plotting by conflict is not truly necessary for a slice of life type story.

  • Is that a jab at Charlize Theron?