Starring one of the world’s most successful actresses, this bittersweet indie drama details the constant struggle one faces when living with both physical and psychological pain. Although renowned for her work within comedy, Jennifer Aniston remarkably manages to pull off this wonderfully believable role of Claire, a sardonic humoured woman suffering from chronic pain, who increasingly throughout the film becomes evermore obsessed with the thought of suicide.
The film introduces us to the character of Claire (Jennifer Aniston) by setting the scene in a support class for chronic pain sufferers. Here, it is revealed that one of the group members, Nina (Anna Kendrick), has recently taken her own life, leaving behind her husband and young son. When addressed by the group leader on how she feels about the death of her recent acquaintance, Claire’s acerbic response on the gruesome and undignified nature of Nina’s suicide highlights her character’s outlook perfectly, whilst simultaneously setting the tone for the whole film.
Continuing in the traditional independent cinema style, and therefore maybe not too fulfilling for all mainstream movie lovers, the plot is unraveled gradually, segmented by the inclusion of dream-like sequences. This in turn creates a wonderfully ambiguous narrative (although I am partial to a bit of art cinema myself) that will leave you questioning the morals and actions of the film’s protagonist. Nevertheless, this doesn’t make the film run slow as the incorporation of some very well-developed characters, such as that of Claire’s adorable yet motherly housekeeper Silvana (Andriana Barraza), only ever add to the dryly comical yet poignant mood and motives of the overall film. Equally, things start to become a little less cloudy towards the middle of the film and will only make you readjust your stance all over again.
Additionally, when we are introduced to the husband and son of Nina, the film establishes a very honest, moving yet personally debatable dichotomy between suicide victims and the family they leave behind. This bitter approach however is contrasted with the reincorporation of cake and its uncanny ability to subtly make life seem a just that little bit sweeter.
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