Cake is a film set in LA following Clare Bennett (played by Jennifer Aniston) and her road through grief and chronic pain. The film was released in 2014, but I didn’t come across its existence until earlier this year when it was released on DVD.
Claire suffers with chronic pain. I don’t want to give any more detail about the story or how it progresses in this post because as the film develops, clues as to how she came to be in chronic pain, what happened to her family and her journey to redemption are played out in a way that makes the film incredibly powerful and spoilers would indeed spoil that experience.
Although Claire does not have Fibromyalgia, what the film does highlight is a life with chronic pain. Chronic pain is something that isn’t usually mentioned, it’s something that people either don’t talk about or that is only talked about in certain circles. In Cake, chronic pain is being talked about and that, I think, needs recognition.
Along with chronic pain, the movie covers elements of grief, depression, and addiction; chronic pain is never in isolation and this movie delivers all of the elements excellently.
Jennifer Aniston plays the part of Claire exceptionally well. The way she walks, holds herself, the wincing, the flinching, even the way she talks, the way she dresses, her lack of makeup, the isolation, the anger, the desperation to feel better; it all resonated with me over and over again. There were times when I totally believed her pain, Jennifer clearly researched life with chronic pain meticulously before making the film.
My only gripe was that the main focus of the film seemed to be about the addiction and about using medication to ‘cope’ with the misery and pain. While I am sure this might be a reality for many people with chronic pain, it feels inappropriate and almost misleading to focus Claire’s character in this way.
All in all, Jennifer’s performance was Oscar winning – such a shame she wasn’t nominated for the award. Outstanding, raw and brutally honest, it was impossible to fault. I would highly recommend watching the film if you haven’t already.
Have you seen Cake? How did you feel Jennifer Aniston portrayed chronic pain? Have you seen another movie dealing with the subject of chronic pain? Please comment and let me know.