Egyptian Theatre, Hollywood, Q&A with Jennifer Aniston
In Cake, Jennifer Aniston is Claire, a woman living with physical and emotional pain following a devastating car accident. While it takes most of the movie to learn the particulars, Claire’s bitter sarcasm is there from the opening scene. In her chronic pain support group, she doesn’t cut anyone any slack, especially the staffer leading the group.
Aided by a moderate weight gain and a prosthetic facial scar, Aniston transforms herself. Fortunately, she doesn’t completely abandon her perky Rachel personae but asks what if this terrible event happened to someone like her? How would she cope?
Written by Patrick Tobin and directed by Daniel Barnz [Beastly (2011)], the film confronts difficult issues, including suicide. Claire became close with group member Nina (Anna Kendrick), now deceased. She may or may not have leaped from a bridge. In death, Nina becomes Claire’s confidante and guardian angel, giving the film a magical, It’s a Wonderful Life (1946) quality.
Sam Worthington is good as Nina’s husband Roy, but the movie is mainly about the women, with a cast that includes Lucy Punch, Felicity Huffman and Adriana Barraza as the mother figure, Silvana.
At the Q&A, moderator Jason Bateman commented that this was a side of Jennifer that none of us had seen before and where did it come from? She replied that she may not have been capable of a part like this five or ten years ago, even if offered.
“I don’t know if I could have brought to it what I can now . . . There’s a level of fearlessness that you have to be able to go ‘F it, I’m ready to just disappear . . . I want this opportunity for myself, creatively.’ You can get stereotyped and play that great part again and again and still entertain, but for the actor part of you that really wants to be challenged, you have to go that much farther.”
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