“Cake” a Movie About Chronic Pain staring Jennifer Aniston

“Cake” a Movie About Chronic Pain staring Jennifer Aniston

jenniferanistonHave you seen Cake?

It’s a real movie about chronic pain. If you have seen it, we’d love to know what you think. Fill out this survey and we will share the results with you in the coming days.


In a limited release, it actually had a pretty good opening this past weekend, which is surprising given all the competition it has faced with moves that have Academy Award aspirations.

If you haven’t seen it, try to see it this weekend. Here’s the trailer.  I’m going to see it this weekend and will share my thoughts in a separate piece, although, in the palace of truth, I’m no movie critic. Those who suffer from chronic pain will watch it and decide whether it’s real…or real enough.

It has a big star-Jennifer Aniston. She is, it is fair to say, one of this country’s cinematic sweethearts. To her credit, she shed that image for this movie. She stopped working out and looks, well let’s just say it, quite haggard. She plays a chronic pain patient and the movie chronicles a painful journey, from what we hear. She was executive produce of this movie, which is Hollywood talk for “I have the power to make this movie even though I’d never be picked to play this role.” Here’s an article that talks about that angle.

Good for her for trying. She probably was looking for something like an Academy Award nomination-she didn’t get one.

It should be said that Hollywood has been all about cinema verite this season. American Sniper, The Imitation Game and Selma are just three major releases that are based on real life.

But is there anything more real than suffering from chronic pain? And does Aniston and this movie capture that reality?

Those of you that are loyal National Pain Report visitors and readers know that we have tried to talk about this issue honestly and provocatively in the last couple of years.

Part of that effort is making sure that we hear from you.

So don’t disappoint.

Let us know what you think about this film, whether Hollywood treats chronic pain honestly, and whether you think this film is going to help increase understanding about chronic pain.

Chronic pain doesn’t normally get attention from Hollywood. Now that it has, it’s up to all of us to tell them how they did.





Authored by: Ed Coghlan

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Stereotypes are always based on some kind of reality. As a chronic pain, drug dependent, at times suicidal divorced parent of sick kids, the movie hit close to the bone. I’m at the point where I’m trying to choose between debilitating pain and the drugs that get me through the day but ultimately worsen my condition. I’m thankful Aniston made a movie this real. She does carry a hollywood script,….I didn’t shed a tear until she sat up, off drugs, in the last frame. That was hope. Hope hurts. Takes courage. It’s easier sometimes to imagine jumping off an overpass. I don’t think people get how constant pain, in simply moving, not to mention depression, wears you down. steals your life. And most of us do it circling the drain economically, alone, no hired help caring for you like family. But the movie is no crowd pleaser….. probably not for one unfamiliar with these conditions…. and makes no promises she’s going to keep on sitting up.


Kelly Dart
I couldn’t have said it better myself!

Kurt W.G. Matthies

I haven’t seen it. I probably wont. First of all, I live with chronic spine disease and haven’t been able to sit in a movie theater since The Lord of the Rings.

Incidentally, I’d bet my false teeth that Gandalf the Grey suffers from chronic LBP. His stoop is typical of moderate to severe lumbar spinal stenosis, and we live with this diagnosis understand how a little flexion can open the intrathecal space and provide relief. You’ll see us leaning over our grocery carts in our local Safeway, where you’ll see Jenifer Aniston on the tabloids at the checkout lane.

Frankly I don’t trust Hollywood or an actress of caliber and silly priorities of an Aniston to represent my disease state to the American public.

Now, a documentary about the myriad effects of chronic pain on society, families, and the lives of we who live with this disease — I’d risk a pain flare for to see that.

Some might say that Aniston, et. al. responsible for this 90 minutes of melodrama is “getting the message out” about the problem of chronic pain, and that’s a good thing.

But in a country with anywhere from 50 to 100 million American living with chronic pain, you can’t find a pair of blinders big enough to hide the problem from a sizable majority of adults — unless of course you happen to have editorial control of a popular media sector, or a perhaps you’re a physician associated with PROPs.

Chronic pain is an epidemic folks, and the sooner we face it, the sooner we can do something about it. As Dr. Lynn Webster was quoted to say recently:

“We need something like a Manhattan Project. We cannot ignore the millions of Americans whose lives are torn apart by pain or accept the large number of people who are harmed from opioids. After all, each reader of this article is likely to experience chronic pain or be close to someone who does. As of now, chronic pain has the power to alter lives forever. We need a societal commitment to find safer and more effective therapies for mankind’s primal enemy – pain.”

This is not a movie about the struggles chronic pain sufferers; it is a movie that sensationalizes the negative stereotype of the disease and the LAST thing that was needed for those with this condition. There are bits and pieces that rang true, but unlike a fictional character, we that suffer from this incapacitating disease do not have the luxury of arranging our lives around stalking others and having our maids ‘score’ for us. Only a small percent of CP sufferers will become addicted, although many will display characteristics of being so because of pseudo-addiction stemming from under treatment of our pain. Hired help around the house? Not with the amount of money that goes towards medical bills! Angry, bitter, isolated, depressed, GUILTY? Hell yes!!! Because of the disease causing my chronic pain? Slightly; mostly it’s because of inability to mother my four sons the way I used to because of the fear the DEA/Government/Society has instilled in my PM Doctor as far as prescribing the amount of medicine needed for me to have my pain level drop enough to physically function, because the pain is NEVER gone no matter what or how much medicine I take.
The diabetic who does not adhere to lifestyle changes is just given more insulin; we CP sufferers do everything recommended and MANDATED (urine tests) and are still told no because of what other people do with medications thar make our bodies livable. With hold insulin increases until the patient abides by the Doctors recommendations? There would be outcry and lawsuits….

I want to see the Movie with Jennifer.
I saw Wild last night and was not that thrilled.
I don’t understand how Jen didn’t get nominated for best Actress???


All this movie is going to do is make more people believe that those with chronic pain who need pain meds to function are drug addicts.

Bio Guy

Thanks for writing this. I’m going to see it this weekend then fill out your survey. Thanks for all you do National Pain Report!