The ingredients of “Cake” sound like a delicious treat but something went wrong with this recipe. You would expect big name actors, a few amazing performances, a mysterious situation, and an impressive character transformation to add up to a great film but instead, it just drags on. I fell asleep twice because there is basically no action and the pacing puts the story into slow motion. Even with this low rating, I still recommend watching this film because it is the best performance of Jennifer Aniston's career. She taps into a dark place for this refined performance that earned her nominations from the Golden Globes and the Screen Actors Guild. We don’t understand why she is so low (until it is vaguely implied much later in the movie), but her pitiful state of depression and chronic pain create a strong connection to the character. Her final scene is subtle yet powerful. Meanwhile, Adriana Barraza shines in her moment to really showcase her acting skills and then spends the rest of the film supporting Aniston’s character in a very real way. To keep the focus on Aniston’s journey, the other characters are each only present for one or two short scenes. This includes well-known actors like William H. Macy (who was definitely underutilized but it makes sense for his character), Britt Robertson, Sam Worthington, Chris Messina, and of course Anna Kendrick. It could almost be considered an “ensemble cast” if they all didn’t disappear from the screen so quickly. This film is a total downer so be prepared for that at the onset. If you are expecting a typical Aniston role, think again. “Cake” is a snail-paced drama but is worth a watch if you appreciate subtle acting and realism.
[Pictured: It is rare to see Aniston without a smile, but these sad emotions really shine]