Jennifer Aniston delivers a painfully-good performance in “Cake.” 

We all watched her in F.R.I.E.N.D.S. and loved her (most of us, anyway), watched her in mediocre tk good comedy movies and laughed with her, but we can finally say it: Jennifer Aniston has finally moved on from comedy.

Most recently, the actress lends her talents to Cake, a drama that follows Claire Bennett (Aniston), a divorcee battling chronic pain following an accident, obsessed with Nina Collins (Anna Kendrick), a fellow support group member who commits suicide.

Directed by Daniel Barnz, Cake is filled with a star-studded cast including Felicity Huffman, Britt Robertson, and Sam Worthington. But it is Jennifer Aniston and Adriana Barraza (who plays her helper/caretaker) who steal the show.

In my favourite performance by her to date, Aniston manages to convey the pain and suffering of Claire brilliantly. All throughout the movie, I could feel a lingering sense of melancholy and a sadness to her, the reason of which we soon come to find out. While the main theme has been redone several times in many variations before and, if I could say so myself, much better than Cake did it, it is Aniston‘s heartfelt performance that elevates the film’s narrative. It was, indeed, one of the most believable performances f the year. For her role, she was nominated for a Golden Globe Award, a Screen Actors Guild Award, and a Critic’s Choice Award, winning none. Upon announcing the nominees for this year’s Academy Awards, audiences were shocked that Aniston had been snubbed for her performance.

Another interesting aspect of the film is the relationship between Claire and Silviana (Barraza). There’s a real sense of friendship and mutual caring between the two. Barraza does a good job with her role, immediately becoming likable, but is slightly overshadowed by the lead’s terrific performance.

The remainder of the cast also does a good job with their respective roles, though none as memorable as the two main characters.

While Cake tugs at your heartstrings, it is filled with plenty of clichés. The filmultimately  lacks the originality to put it atop other films of the same theme/nature. Without the acting performances, Cake has very little to keep it steady.

The script was just alright. There wasn’t an Oscar-winning scene in the film, but the lack of dialogue was more than enough in some scenes where the viewer (me in this case) shares intimate moments with Claire.

The score was average. The movie had the perfect plot for those really gritty, sad songs, but it chooses not to use them. There were so many songs that could have been employed. Alas, mainstream prevailed (granted, the rendition of “Halo” during the end credits was beautiful).

Overall, I wouldn’t say Cake is a disappointing movie. It is rather an underwhleming one, but one that benefits from being such. It’s a small, cozy movie you might watch once or twice then put away. With the end of the SAG awards came Jennifer Aniston‘s latest blow over which the ubiquitous Meryl Streep comforted the actress. But the thing is, Cake just won Aniston more than awards could ever win her: it won her a better career. Watch out, folks. We could be in for a treat!

RATING: 47/100

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