I first heard about the movie Cake in a newsletter from a pain association I belong to as a member. There was a lot of buzz about this film which stars Jennifer Anniston playing the role of Claire, a woman dealing with chronic pain and the way it effects all aspects of life.
I was intrigued but the premise of Cake and how it would play out on screen. I was hopeful that the audience (society) might get an honest glimmer into what life with an invisible illness was like, but what I ended up with was a whole lot of disappointment.
Here’s what I like about Cake-
Jennifer Anniston was convincing as Claire. She did a good job conveying what living with pain is like. How it permeates your existence, seeps in to all corners including your relationships with others.
Here’s where the film lost me-
Claire is portrayed as a pill popping addict. She hides her drugs around her house, she steals from others medicine cabinets, she lies to clinic doctors to get more meds and even travels to Mexico to get her medication illegally.
These aspects of Cake made me angry. They perpetuate nth stereotype that those with chronic pain are pill popping drug addicts. There is a big difference between dependence and addiction. Is the line sometimes blurred or crossed? For some of us …yes. But the film makers had an opportunity here to show a different side-the real side.
Do I need medication to cope with my pain? Yes. Does that make me a drug addict? Absolutely not.
The creator’s of Cake had the opportunity to show how often chronic pain sufferers are judged, discriminated against and told the pain is in our heads. They could have shown how we have to sometimes argue with our own medical team to convince them of what we need.
I guess when it comes to storytelling they felt “drug addict” was more dramatic but in all honesty, chronic pain and what it does to the soul is all the drama they needed to show and it would have been more than effective.
Have you seen the movie Cake? I’d love to hear your thoughts!
Cake Movie Trailer