“Cake” is a captivating movie starring Jennifer Aniston, who plays a woman who develops chronic pain after a car accident. The most remarkable part of the movie is Aniston’s acting. She moves and acts like a person with chronic pain. Her legs are supported by pillow in bed. She walks with her hand on the wall for support. She is moody, short-tempered, and bossy; much like someone in chronic pain would be. Her wardrobe consists of mostly pajamas. Her nights are sleepless and full of hallucinations from her medications. With every move and bump in the road, she groans and cries. She spends most of her life in bed and really only goes out to go to doctor’s appointments or support group. On the rare occasion that she goes out, she has to lay down in the car. She also utilizes deep breathing exercises to relax and cope with the pain.
She has a caretaker who takes care of her, drives her around, and cleans the house after her relationship with her husband falls apart. This caretaker is vital, because she struggles with the simplest of household tasks, like opening a bin. The stress on the caretaker is overwhelming at times. They start to feel the physical ramifications of caring for the patient. The caretaker’s family starts to feel the effects of the hard and emotional work.
Because her friend Nina committed suicide, a sad reality of living with chronic pain, Aniston is traumatized. This causes her to contemplate her own suicide either by jumping off an over pass or by using the pool weights to drown her.
Her doctors and therapists get frustrated and give up on her after not being able to “fix” her. This reality is all too common for chronic pain patients, and it is something that most chronic pain patients live in fear of; “When is my doctor going to give up on me?”. The doctors feed into her need for excessive narcotic pain medications to function and don’t look into other treatments or therapies. Unfortunately, the movie portrays patients as “worthless” and people ask if she is really trying and wants to get better.
The one thing that truly disturbed me about the movie was that her medications where hidden in various, often obscure places. She take her pills far too often and ultimately overdoses. In order to secure these pills, she goes to Mexico and lies and bribes to get her narcotic pain pills.
Through it all, she learned to enjoy the little things in life like homemade fudge frosting on a cake.
I really enjoyed this movie, but I don’t think that the characters were all portrayed in the best light. Not every chronic pain patient goes to Mexico for their prescriptions. Not every chronic pain patient uses pain medication excessively, to the point of overdose. In fact, many chronic pain patients don’t use pain killers at all because they don’t always work. This movie was too generalized in that sense, but overall, I enjoyed it!