Aniston performance is cherry on the Cake

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Life is pain cocooned within extended periods of contentment and the mundane.

At some point, we all have to contend with that exquisite suffering, which seems like it might consume us, but it’s how we emerge from the blackness that ultimately defines us as strong, resilient creatures.

The embittered protagonist in Daniel Barnz’s film, this font of bile and foul-mouthed misery, is portrayed with bedraggled hair and make-up disfigurements by Jennifer Aniston. It’s a compelling dramatic performance, stripped bare of vanity, which reminds us that the Los Angeles-born actress is much more than the romcom girl next door.

Claire Bennett (Aniston) survived the car crash that shattered her body but her road to recovery is agonisingly long and winding. She can’t sit or stand without enduring shooting pain, which she curbs by popping prescription medication like candy.

Had scriptwriter Patrick Tobin treated his mix of misfit characters with more care and sieved out some of the implausible dramatic detours, Aniston would probably have secured her first Oscar nomination as Best Actress.