The subject of chronic pain is so pervasive that it’s finally making its way into popular culture. The latest movie cataloguing life with pain is Cake, starring Jennifer Aniston. The movie hits theaters Jan. 23, 2015.
In Cake, Jennifer Aniston plays a Los Angeles woman with chronic pain named Claire Simmons, whose acerbic wit lends the movie a comedic air although it also has a dramatic element. A woman in Claire’s support group named Nina commits suicide by jumping off a freeway overpass, and the beginning of the movie finds the support group members discussing their feelings about Nina’s tragic end.
Claire, in a way that defines her dark sense of humor, describes the death to support group members—and the audience—ending with a wry, “Way to go, Nina.” The snide comment was enough to get Claire kicked out of the support group.
In Cake, a chronic pain patient has difficultly managing the physical and emotional manifestations of disease.
Meanwhile, Claire herself is suffering immensely, taking painkiller after painkiller to numb her physical and apparently emotional pain. She also engages in destructive behaviors, like drinking wine with her medications. Brash-talking and unhappy, Claire doesn’t have much in life. Her perspective on life has driven away her husband and even physical therapist.
The one bright spot in Claire’s life is her housekeeper, Silvana, who functions as a sidekick, even accompanying Claire to Mexico to pick up painkillers.
Then, Claire begins to see Nina in a series of hallucinations that urge Claire to take her own life. In an effort to quash the feelings, Claire decides to investigate Nina’s death and contacts the woman’s widower, Roy, and son. Roy and Claire develop a friendship and the plot unfolds from there.
The movie has received mixed reviews, with some critics calling the plot ill developed, saved only by Aniston’s stellar acting. The Playlist concludes, “a few chuckles can’t cover up the fact that this is a character study of a character not worth studying.”
But as many moviegoers can attest, sometimes critic reviews are a little more harsh than those of the average viewer looking for an absorbing tale. Those living with or affected by chronic pain could find that Cake offers an interesting plotline.
Despite mixed reviews, moviegoers with chronic pain will likely find the movie Cake relatable.
Aniston approached character development with vigor, undergoing an “uglification” process that included minimal makeup. The only layers applied were intended to make her look unappealing. Aniston wore foundation to make her look sallow and pale and other makeup to resemble scars.
Stringy hair completed the look, undoubtedly a difficult ensemble to sport considering her face would be splashed across gigantic movie theater screens. Vulture reports that Aniston told a movie premier audience:
“I actually found
Get Free Email Updates!
Weekly updates on conditions, treatments, and pain medicine.
Thank you for subscribing.
Something went wrong.