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Movie Review

Aniston Is Unusually Real In 'Cake'

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Some people can accomplish remarkable things despite the fact that they are in constant physical pain-- John F. Kennedy, for example.

But Jennifer Aniston does not play such a person in her latest movie, Cake. Cake is about quite ordinary people, and Aniston is exceptionally ordinary in this movie, for an established star who is usually funny. She has scars on her face and both legs, and her back is obviously delicate to the point that she has to lie down in cars to minimize the possibility of jolts. She has to keep her posture straight up and down, whether standing or sitting or walking, and it seems to hurt her even to talk.

The consequences of all this are what they would be for most of us-- she is abrupt to the point of rudeness, alienates even her Chronic Pain Support Group, and shows little ability to see or feel the point of view of anybody else. She's all wrapped up in her own pain.

I might mention that Aniston is so good in this role that I felt very uncomfortable just watching her. I admire her acting here, but I can't say I enjoyed it.

Her estranged husband and especially her maid, beautifully played by Adriana Barazza, try to her but can't do much, any more than her therapy people can. And one of her friends in the chronic pain group, Anna Kendrick, has just committed suicide. But Aniston can't keep Kendrick out of her mind, and Kendrick, oddly enough, proves to be a key to whatever progress Aniston makes in rejoining the human race.

Cake is an unusual and unusually realistic variation on disease-of-the-week movies. I'll leave it to you to figure out why the possum is in it.