A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Cake is a grim drama that deals with incredibly tragic issues, including chronic pain, a fatal car accident, and the suicide of a young mother. As such, it's likely too heavy for young teens and tweens. Expect some swearing, including "s--t" and "f--k," and many scenes showing star Jennifer Aniston's character popping pills that she has procured illegally. It's implied that characters are having sex (they're under the covers; there's no nudity)
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What's the story?
Claire Bennett (Jennifer Aniston), a former lawyer, has lost her faith in humanity and in a bright future. Her young son is dead, her marriage in shambles. At group therapy, she discovers that another member, Nina (Anna Kendrick), has jumped off a freeway overpass, leaving her own husband and child behind. Stricken with grief, Claire explores Nina's abandoned life, looking for clues to her own salvation.
Is it any good?
CAKE won't let you have it and eat it, too. The storyline is interesting, albeit grim, and Aniston and Adriana Barraza -- who plays Claire's housekeeper, Silvana -- are very impressive (this may be Aniston's strongest performance to date, devoid of both makeup and self-consciousness). But the rest of the film is a bit of a jumble, making metaphorical leaps that aren't earned and meandering to the point of losing its way. Claire makes decisions that are ostensibly out of anger -- and later something else -- but how she gets there isn't all that convincing. See it for Aniston and Barraza, but check your expectations first.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about why Claire is so hostile. Are her reasons understandable? Does Cake offer any constructive approaches for dealing with chronic anger?
Why do you think Claire is so dependent on pills? Are there realistic consequences for her substance use? How does the movie explore the reasons why people may abuse pills?
Much has been made of the fact that star Jennifer Aniston made herself "ugly" for her role in this movie. Do you agree with that assessment? Why do you think Hollywood actresses are drawn to play unglamorous characters? Would a male actor doing something similar be singled out the same way?
Why do you think the movie is called Cake?
- In theaters: January 23, 2015
- On DVD or streaming: April 21, 2015
- Cast: Jennifer Aniston, Anna Kendrick, Sam Worthington
- Director: Daniel Barnz
- Studio: Freestyle Releasing
- Genre: Drama
- Run time: 91 minutes
- MPAA rating: R
- MPAA explanation: language, substance abuse and brief sexuality
- Last updated: September 20, 2019
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