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Cake is a 2014 American drama film directed by Daniel Barnz, written by Patrick Tobin, and starring Jennifer Aniston, Adriana Barraza, Felicity Huffman, William H. Macy, Anna Kendrick, and Sam Worthington. It debuted in the Special Presentations section of the 2014 Toronto International Film Festival.[6]

Cake poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byDaniel Barnz
Produced byBen Barnz
Jennifer Aniston
Kristin Hahn
Courtney Solomon
Mark Canton
Written byPatrick Tobin
StarringJennifer Aniston
Adriana Barraza
Mamie Gummer
Felicity Huffman
William H. Macy
Chris Messina
Lucy Punch
Britt Robertson
Anna Kendrick
Sam Worthington
Music byChristophe Beck
CinematographyRachel Morrison
Edited byKristina Boden
Distributed byWarner Bros. Pictures (United Kingdom, Switzerland, Germany, France and Italy)
Cinelou Releasing (United States)
Release date
  • September 8, 2014 (2014-09-08) (TIFF)[1]
  • December 31, 2014 (2014-12-31)[2]
Running time
102 minutes[3]
CountryUnited States
Budget$7–10 million[4]
Box office$2.9 million[5]

Cake received mixed reviews and was a box office bomb, grossing just $2.9 million against its $10 million budget. However, Aniston's rare dramatic performance received positive reviews and brought her nominations for the Screen Actors Guild Award and Golden Globe Award.



Several years after surviving a car accident that killed her son, former Los Angeles defense attorney Claire Bennett is left physically and emotionally disabled — and heavily scarred — as she struggles to cope with chronic pain. Claire is hostile to most people but manipulative and sweet to her pain management doctor who prescribes her the pain medication she needs to survive. Claire's husband, Jason, has finally left her, but she's assisted by her devoted housekeeper, Silvana, who has become both caretaker and chauffeur and who selflessly looks after all of Claire's needs. Because of the accident, Claire refuses to sit up in the car, and lies down while being driven everywhere.

During a meeting of her chronic pain support group, Claire sarcastically addresses the recent suicide of group member Nina, 31, who jumped off a highway overpass only to land on a truck headed to Mexico, leading to delays in recovering her body. Annette, the group therapist, later asks Claire to find another group to deal with her anger.

Claire relies on the opioids percocet and oxycontin, but to ease her pain has to resort to illegally buying additional pain medication in Tijuana. Claire also abuses alcohol, which causes her vivid dreams and hallucinations about Nina. Dream Nina challenges Claire on her attitude, and tries to push her to suicide, dragging her into the pool and holding her under.

Claire attends physical therapy in the pool but is uncooperative; her exasperated physical therapist explains she will inform the doctor there has been no improvement in six months, which could jeopardize Claire's supply of pain medication. Following her session, Claire takes body weights and jumps into the pool, sitting on the bottom of the pool for 30 seconds before releasing the weights and rising to the surface.

Claire has Silvana drive her to the site of Nina's suicide, where Claire meets an LA Metro Rail worker who witnessed it from a distance. The worker describes how long Nina stood there before she jumped, leading Claire to speculate that Nina was not 100 percent certain about killing herself. The worker responds that Nina was 100 percent successful in killing herself. Claire later dreams of walking out onto the overpass and jumping.

Claire befriends Nina's depressed widower, Roy, who is angry at Nina for her selfish suicide, leaving him alone to raise their 5-year-old son. Expressing concern for Roy, Claire comes to his house at night, where she steals Nina's leftover percocet. Nina returns in Claire's dreams, chastising Claire for using people.

Leonard, the drunk driver who caused the accident, shows up at Claire's house to apologize, saying he is distraught with guilt, but Claire attacks him. Claire accidentally overdoses on her pain medication, but forces herself to vomit the pills up before passing out. She is taken to the hospital, where she dreams of Nina presenting her with a birthday cake with six lit candles. Dream Nina explains her guilt of not being able to make a birthday cake for her son because of her pain, which she shared in group before her suicide.

Claire is discharged from the hospital but forces Silvana to drive her to Riverside, where she had her first date with Jason. Claire wanders away and lies down on the railroad tracks nearby, hallucinating a conversation with Nina, who forces Claire to admit she was a good mother. Silvana drags her away and finally loses it, launching into a tirade in Spanish against Claire for abusing everyone and pushing away Jason, who also lost his son. Her rant is interrupted when Claire notices their car has been stolen, forcing them to stay in a motel and get a rental car to return to Los Angeles.

The next day in Riverside, Claire meets Becky, a teen from Boise, who wants to become an actress. Claire agrees to drive Becky to LA and offers her $100 to make her a homemade cake. At home, Claire discovers a giant framed photo of Claire and her son on the wall. She breaks down crying and calls Jason to thank him.

The next day, Claire discovers Becky stole her wallet and left, but made her the homemade cake she requested, which Claire brings to Roy. She visits her son's grave, where Silvana hangs up a wind chime in a nearby tree. On the ride home, Claire decides to finally sit up straight in the car.



On February 10, 2014, it was announced that Jennifer Aniston would play the lead in Cake.[7] Daniel Barnz, the director, said "Of the zillions of Jennifer Aniston fans, I might be the biggest one of all. I've especially loved her more dramatic performances, and I can’t wait to watch her tackle a role that has such a brilliantly funny voice and so much raw pain (hats off to writer Patrick Tobin). I’m honored to be collaborating with Ben, Kristin and Courtney, and it’s exciting that Cake will be the first film under the Cinelou banner. It feels like we’re all taking a leap of faith together, and that’s pretty thrilling."[7] On March 15, Mexican actress Adriana Barraza was also announced in the cast of the drama.[8] The rest of the cast was revealed on April 1.[9]

Principal photography, which took place in Los Angeles, began April 3, 2014[10] and ended May 6.[11]


Cake was released in select theatres on December 31, 2014 by Cinelou Films, before going on general release on January 23, 2015 by Freestyle Releasing.[12][13] The film was released on DVD & Blu-Ray April 21, 2015.[citation needed]


Cake received mixed reviews from critics. On review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 49% based on 125 reviews, with an average rating of 5.83/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "Cake finds Jennifer Aniston making the most of an overdue opportunity to test her dramatic chops, but it lacks sufficient depth or warmth to recommend for all but her most ardent fans."[14] On Metacritic, the film has a score of 49 out of 100, based on 38 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[15]

At the Toronto premiere, the cast received a standing ovation. The performances of Jennifer Aniston and Adriana Barraza have been highly praised by some critics.[16] Pete Hammond of Deadline described Aniston's performance as "heartbreakingly good... There are really no tricks to this performance. It's raw and real, poignant and unexpected."[17] Clayton Davis of Awards Circuit spoke of Aniston's performance as "the single best performance by an actress this year... Aniston's performance is something that most actresses will pray to be able to achieve, but never come close."[18] In his review for HitFix, Gregory Ellwood wrote that "Aniston makes you believe in Claire's pain. She makes you believe this character is at her lowest point and only she can pull herself out of it. There is no Oscar scene. There is no massive crying fit. It's a complete performance from beginning to end and she deserves the appropriate accolades for it."[19] Of Aniston's performance, David Nusair of Reel Film Reviews wrote "...the actress steps into the shoes of her thoroughly damaged character to an often revelatory extent."[20] Sheri Linden of the Los Angeles Times also spoke positively of Aniston's performance, writing "Aniston lends the role an impressively agonized physicality and brings ace timing to the screenplay's welcome gallows humor."[21]


Year Award Category Recipient Result
2013 Nantucket Film Festival Showtime Tony Cox Screenplay Competition Patrick Tobin Won
2014 People Magazine Awards Movie Performance of the Year - Actress Jennifer Aniston Won
Capri-Hollywood Film Festival Best Actress Won
2015 Santa Barbara International Film Festival The Montecito Award Won
Critics' Choice Movie Awards Best Actress Nominated
Gold Derby Awards Best Actress Nominated
Golden Globe Awards Best Actress - Motion Picture Drama Nominated
Golden Raspberry Award The Razzie Redeemer Award Nominated
Screen Actors Guild Awards Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role Nominated
Casting Society of America Low-Budget Drama Mary Vernieu, Lindsay Graham Nominated
Shanghai International Film Festival Golden Goblet Award for Best Feature Film Daniel Barnz Nominated
Shanghai International Film Festival Golden Goblet Award for Best Screenplay Won
PRISM Awards Feature Film Nominated


  1. ^ "TIFF Opening Press Conference - Festival 2014". YouTube. Retrieved January 25, 2015.
  2. ^
  3. ^ "CAKE (15)". British Board of Film Classification. December 19, 2014. Retrieved December 19, 2014.
  4. ^ McNary, Dave (February 9, 2014). "Jennifer Aniston Starring in Indie Drama 'Cake'". Variety.
  5. ^ "Cake Box Office".
  6. ^ "Toronto Film Festival Lineup". Variety. Retrieved July 22, 2014.
  7. ^ a b Tartaglione, Nancy (February 9, 2014). "Jennifer Aniston To Star In 'Cake'; First Pic Under New Cinelou Banner". Deadline.
  8. ^ Sneide, Jeff (March 14, 2014). "Jennifer Aniston Joined by Brad Pitt's 'Babel' Co-Star in 'Cake' (Exclusive)". The Wrap.
  9. ^ Sneide, Jeff (April 1, 2014). "Sam Worthington, Anna Kendrick, Chris Messina Join Jennifer Aniston in 'Cake' (Exclusive)". The Wrap.
  10. ^ "Jennifer Aniston On The Set Of 'Cake'". Archived from the original on April 3, 2014. Retrieved April 3, 2014.
  11. ^ "D Films". Facebook. Retrieved January 25, 2015.
  12. ^ Bloom, David. "Jennifer Aniston On Connecting With Her 'Cake' Character – The Contenders VIDEO". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved December 13, 2014.
  13. ^ "Cake". Freestyle Releasing. Retrieved January 25, 2015.
  14. ^ "Cake (2015)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved May 23, 2019.
  15. ^ "Cake". Metacritic. Retrieved January 28, 2015.
  16. ^ Sam Griffiths. "Cake". FilmPhorThought. Retrieved July 9, 2015./
  17. ^ Pete Hammond. "Jennifer Aniston Sparks Oscar Buzz With 'Cake' Movie In Toronto - Deadline". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved January 25, 2015.
  18. ^ "Film Review: Cake Starring Jennifer Aniston". - By Clayton Davis. Retrieved January 25, 2015.
  19. ^ "Review: Jennifer Anistons impressively raw performance tells her critics to eat Cake". HitFix. Retrieved January 25, 2015.
  20. ^ "2014 TIFF Update #7 - Reviews by David Nusair". Retrieved January 25, 2015.
  21. ^ Los Angeles Times (December 30, 2014). "Review: Jennifer Aniston's never looked worse or been better in 'Cake' - LA Times". Retrieved January 25, 2015.

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