Cake (2014 film)
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Daniel Barnz|
|Written by||Patrick Tobin|
William H. Macy
|Music by||Christophe Beck|
|Edited by||Kristina Boden|
|Distributed by||Freestyle Releasing|
|Box office||$2.9 million|
Cake is a 2014 American drama film directed by Daniel Barnz, written by Patrick Tobin, and starring Jennifer Aniston, Adriana Barraza, Felicity Huffman, William H. Macy, Anna Kendrick, and Sam Worthington. It debuted in the Special Presentations section of the 2014 Toronto International Film Festival.
Several years after surviving a car accident that killed her son, former Los Angeles defense attorney Claire Bennett is left physically and emotionally disabled — and heavily scarred — as she struggles to cope with chronic pain. Claire is hostile to most people but manipulative and sweet to her pain management doctor who prescribes her the pain medication she needs to survive. Claire's husband, Jason, has finally left her, but she's assisted by her devoted housekeeper, Silvana, who has become both caretaker and chauffeur and who selflessly looks after all of Claire's needs. Because of the accident, Claire refuses to sit up in the car, and lies down while being driven everywhere.
During a meeting of her chronic pain support group, Claire sarcastically addresses the recent suicide of group member Nina, 31, who jumped off a highway overpass only to land on a truck headed to Mexico, leading to delays in recovering her body. Annette, the group therapist, later asks Claire to find another group to deal with her anger.
Claire relies on the opioids percocet and oxycontin, but to ease her pain has to resort to illegally buying additional pain medication in Tijuana. Claire also abuses alcohol, which causes her vivid dreams and hallucinations about Nina. Dream Nina challenges Claire on her attitude, and tries to push her to suicide, dragging her into the pool and holding her under.
Claire attends physical therapy in the pool but is uncooperative; her exasperated physical therapist explains she will inform the doctor there has been no improvement in six months, which could jeopardize Claire's supply of pain medication. Following her session, Claire takes body weights and jumps into the pool, sitting on the bottom of the pool for 30 seconds before releasing the weights and rising to the surface.
Claire has Silvana drive her to the site of Nina's suicide, where Claire meets a LA Metro Rail worker who witnessed it from a distance. The worker describes how long Nina stood there before she jumped, leading Claire to speculate that Nina was not 100 percent certain about killing herself. The worker responds that Nina was 100 percent successful in killing herself. Claire later dreams of walking out onto the overpass and jumping.
Claire befriends Nina's depressed widower, Roy, who is angry at Nina for her selfish suicide, leaving him alone to raise their 5-year-old son. Expressing concern for Roy, Claire comes to his house at night, where she steals Nina's leftover percocet. Nina returns in Claire's dreams, chastising Claire for using people.
Leonard, the drunk driver who caused the accident, shows up at Claire's house to apologize, saying he is distraught with guilt, but Claire attacks him. Claire accidentally overdoses on her pain medication, but forces herself to vomit the pills up before passing out. She is taken to the hospital, where she dreams of Nina presenting her with a birthday cake with six lit candles. Dream Nina explains her guilt of not being able to make a birthday cake for her son because of her pain, which she shared in group before her suicide.
Claire is discharged from the hospital but forces Silvana to drive her to Riverside, where she had her first date with Jason. Claire wanders away and lies down on the railroad tracks nearby, hallucinating a conversation with Nina, who forces Claire to admit she was a good mother. Silvana drags her away and finally loses it, launching into a tirade in Spanish against Claire for abusing everyone and pushing away Jason, who also lost his son. Her rant is interrupted when Claire notices their car has been stolen, forcing them to stay in a motel and get a rental car to return to Los Angeles.
The next day in Riverside, Claire meets Becky, a teen from Boise, who wants to become an actress. Claire agrees to drive Becky to LA and offers her $100 to make her a homemade cake. At home, Claire discovers a giant framed photo of Claire and her son on the wall. She breaks down crying and calls Jason to thank him.
The next day, Claire discovers Becky stole her wallet and left, but made her the homemade cake she requested, which Claire brings to Roy. She visit her son's grave, where Silvana hangs up a wind chime in a nearby tree. On the ride home, Claire decides to finally sit up straight in the car.
- Jennifer Aniston as Claire Bennett
- Adriana Barraza as Silvana
- Anna Kendrick as Nina Collins
- Sam Worthington as Roy Collins
- Mamie Gummer as Bonnie
- Felicity Huffman as Annette
- William H. Macy as Leonard
- Chris Messina as Jason Bennett
- Lucy Punch as Nurse Gayle
- Evan O'Toole as Casey Collins
- Britt Robertson as Becky
- Paula Cale as Carol
- Ashley Crow as Stephanie
- Manuel Garcia-Rulfo as Arturo
- Camille Guaty as Tina
- Allen Maldonado as Buddy
- Camille Mana as Nurse Salazar
- Julio Oscar Mechoso as Dr. Mata
- Pepe Serna as Nuncio
- Misty Upham as Liz
- Rose Abdoo as Innocencia
- Alma Martinez as Irma
On February 10, 2014, it was announced that Jennifer Aniston would play the lead in Cake. Daniel Barnz, the director, said "Of the zillions of Jennifer Aniston fans, I might be the biggest one of all. I've especially loved her more dramatic performances, and I can’t wait to watch her tackle a role that has such a brilliantly funny voice and so much raw pain (hats off to writer Patrick Tobin). I’m honored to be collaborating with Ben, Kristin and Courtney, and it’s exciting that Cake will be the first film under the Cinelou banner. It feels like we’re all taking a leap of faith together, and that’s pretty thrilling." On March 15, Mexican actress Adriana Barraza was also announced in the cast of the drama. The rest of the cast was revealed on April 1.
Cake received mixed reviews from critics. On Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds a rating of 49% based on 119 reviews, with an average rating of 5.8/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "Cake finds Jennifer Aniston making the most of an overdue opportunity to test her dramatic chops, but it lacks sufficient depth or warmth to recommend for all but her most ardent fans." On Metacritic, the film has a score of 49 out of 100, based on 34 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".
At the Toronto premiere, the cast received a standing ovation. The performances of Jennifer Aniston and Adriana Barraza have been highly praised by some critics. Pete Hammond of Deadline described Aniston's performance as "heartbreakingly good... There are really no tricks to this performance. It's raw and real, poignant and unexpected." Clayton Davis of Awards Circuit spoke of Aniston's performance as "the single best performance by an actress this year... Aniston's performance is something that most actresses will pray to be able to achieve, but never come close." In his review for HitFix, Gregory Ellwood wrote that "Aniston makes you believe in Claire's pain. She makes you believe this character is at her lowest point and only she can pull herself out of it. There is no Oscar scene. There is no massive crying fit. It's a complete performance from beginning to end and she deserves the appropriate accolades for it." Of Aniston's performance, David Nusair of Reel Film Reviews wrote "...the actress steps into the shoes of her thoroughly damaged character to an often revelatory extent." Sheri Linden of the Los Angeles Times also spoke positively of Aniston's performance, writing "Aniston lends the role an impressively agonized physicality and brings ace timing to the screenplay's welcome gallows humor."
|2013||Nantucket Film Festival||Showtime Tony Cox Screenplay Competition||Patrick Tobin||Won|
|2014||People Magazine Awards||Movie Performance of the Year - Actress||Jennifer Aniston||Won|
|Capri-Hollywood Film Festival||Best Actress||Won|
|2015||Santa Barbara International Film Festival||The Montecito Award||Won|
|Critics' Choice Movie Awards||Best Actress||Nominated|
|Golden Globe Awards||Best Actress - Motion Picture Drama||Nominated|
|Golden Raspberry Award||The Razzie Redeemer Award||Nominated|
|Screen Actors Guild Awards||Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role||Nominated|
|Casting Society of America||Low-Budget Drama||Mary Vernieu, Lindsay Graham||Nominated|
|Shanghai International Film Festival||Golden Goblet Award for Best Feature Film||Daniel Barnz||Nominated|
|Shanghai International Film Festival||Golden Goblet Award for Best Screenplay||Won|
|PRISM Awards||Feature Film||Nominated|
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