Jennifer Aniston made a determined bid for Oscar approval with her performance as a woman stricken with chronic pain in the darkly funny comedy drama Cake. She didn’t get an Oscar nomination, as it happens, but her resolutely unglamorous portrayal of the sharp-tongued, pill popping, chronically depressed Claire is very good: award-worthy, indeed. With the tragic causes of her condition only glimpsed in fleeting asides, Aniston doesn’t court sympathy for her prickly character, who has alienated almost everyone in her life with the exception of her long-suffering maid (Adriana Barraza, excellent). But she draws us into Claire’s life and into her obsession with discovering what lay behind the suicide of fellow chronic-pain sufferer Nina (Anna Kendrick), who appears to her as a disapproving hallucinatory ghost. The film doesn’t quite prevent sentiment seeping in before the end, but Aniston’s deadpan comic timing as she delivers Claire’s bitter put-downs and complaints is brilliant: the deliciously sour cherry on the cake.
Certificate 15. Runtime 98 mins. Director Daniel Barnz.
Cake is released on DVD & Blu-ray on Monday 29th June by Warner Bros. Home Entertainment.
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