I didn’t think I would live to see that day praise a film starring Jennifer Aniston, much less praise her, her acting that ate everything else in more than a good drama by director Daniel Barnz. However, that also happened, no matter how unbelievable it sounded to many (and only to me). This film is the best (ok, only good), the highest quality (ok, the only quality) and the most mature release of the actress I hate and the most antipathetic at the moment. More precisely, until this moment. She was so good that I would have to look for another actress to replace her. Just as one swallow doesn’t make spring, so this great role doesn’t make Aniston a good actress, but it makes her bearable, and that’s a great thing. Kristen (yes, I mean Bella from Twilight), I’m putting you back in the first place!
Jennifer plays Claire Simons, a woman suffering from chronic pain. Namely, she lost her son in a car accident and suffered serious injuries. She moves very hard, her physical pain is visible on her face, she makes painful grimaces every time she makes a bigger effort. He has scars on his face and whole body, he can’t stand anything or anyone. The anger that has accumulated in her erupts every time someone addresses her. In that process, she drove her husband and friends away, and the only person who is more or less with her is her housekeeper Silvana (Adriana Barraza), who with a lot of patience somehow tolerates her and her sick need for medicine.
When a member of her support group, Nina (Anna Kendrick), is killed, Claire is expelled from the group for inappropriate comments about Nina’s suicide. She then gets a new obsession, decides to investigate why Nina killed herself and deliberately enters the life of Nina’s husband (Sam Worthington) and there she tries to find some answers, but also some kind of consolation.
Since the film touched me very much and I was surprised by the acting performance, this review will not be typical, but I will write it in paragraphs marked by the stages of grief of our main heroine. There are no big spoilers, only some situations are listed to convey some segments of the film.
Shock, disbelief and denial. This segment of the film is not shown as we are used to, it is literally shaken in front of us. He is very carefully wrapped in Claire’s ignorance when someone mentions the accident. This, of course, follows the inevitable change of subject. She also ignores her ex-husband’s invitations as she avoids meeting and picking up her belongings from their house. She avoids any encounter with reality, with a reminder that this terrible tragedy happened, with anything that can remind her of it, but she can’t avoid it every time she takes off her clothes and looks at all the scars on her body, witnesses testify that it really happened. They are her worst nightmare, her cross she carries.
Intense concern, longing, protest. Claire feels anxiety, a fear she can’t explain. Although she does not want any interaction with people, she, like every other human being, needs intimacy. She worries (even though she doesn’t want to let it be known) that she is alone in all this. Her appetite has disappeared, the dream does not come to her eyes, she dreams vividly and wakes up a million times during the night. Not only is she physically broken, the emotional pain she has to deal with is much worse. Unusual intimacy with her housekeeper, intimacy with her worker with whom she occasionally has sex even though every bone in her body hurts, but makes her alive, just to feel someone’s touch. Intimacy with a complete stranger with whom he unconsciously wants to share the pain of the loss they both felt. Appetite and sleep are always disturbed in these situations.
Despair and depression. You don’t need a lot of words for this phase, it all comes down to two – tablets and alcohol. More painkillers. Tijuana and smuggling more painkillers in religious statues. Accompanying numbness of the body, her mind, total blackout. Occasional hallucinations that lead the state of her, very fragile mind to the limit.
Recovery. In the end, Claire accepted reality, allowing herself to be shaken lying on the rails and hallucinating. The cake that the thief made for her symbolizes a new beginning. The pain of losing her full glory worked as she stared at the huge picture of her and her son, full of color, left to her by her ex-husband in her living room. Claire is slowly recovering through spending time with Roy and his son, without even being aware of it and how important it is.
I wouldn’t hold you back much about technical and some other info details. The film has a more modest budget, but excellent directing, an even better script, and the best actors are Jennifer Aniston in her life. A drama that touches on the definition of grief, sorrow, loss in their very essence. Cake will pull you in, scold you, chew you up and eventually spit you out, and you will still be satisfied.