Cake ★½

As the credits roll, the presiding question that Cake elicits is "why do I exist?" And just like that, I'm at a complete loss. Director Daniel Barnz must have seen something of purpose and pertinence that separates Cake from any run-of-the-mill drama, but his notions fail to become tangible. The film is deprived of any distinctive potency, themes and bonafide creativity but is inundated with insipidness and insubstantiality; feebly vocalizing its meditation on....life? Grief? Absolution? I'm not sure what it aims to be, but Cake's ambition regrettably remains equivocal.

If its focal endeavour is to instigate a unique character study, then Barnz and writer Patrick Tobin fail to materialize their objective. Claire Bennett may be intricately written but her persona easily assimilates with countless others from previous, more involving films. However (and this may sounds like I'm contradicting myself) the dismantling of Claire is gradual, detailed and does consist of an arc (albeit a mild one); with a key, motionless shot towards the very end signifying one of the few passages of poignancy.

There's really nothing else to really dissect except for the incentives behind its formulation. One of the very few noteworthy elements is Jennifer Aniston's great performance that convincingly envelops both the physical and psychological pain Claire is experiencing.

I would speculate that this was treated as a trial run of sorts for Daniel Barnz but he does have a career behind him so I doubt that's it. Maybe it was purely a awards vehicle for Aniston? Who knows, but Cake rubbed me the wrong way due to it taking up 102 minutes (too long) of my time with a hollow, insignificant tale. Dull and soporific, the few saving graves of Cake - being Aniston, Adriana Barraza, the sensible unravelling of Claire and a small amount of emotion - are unable to elevate this inconsequential affair.

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