“Sitting in Bars with Cake”: Love and Friendship

Every trailer of this movie made me want to watch it. The premise, taking cakes to bars to get the attention guys, is a unique idea and I loved the chemistry in the clips between the two leads. It looked like an incredible film. After watching it on Prime, I can assure it is as good as I expected, the dynamic between the leads is strong and the film is all about love and friendship.

“Sitting in Bars with Cake” is a drama film directed by Trish Sie and written by Audrey Shulman based on her cookbook, Sitting in Bars with Cake. In the film, two young women, best friends, Corinne (Odessa A’Zion) and Jane (Yara Shahidi) live in LA. Corinne works in a music agency for agent Benita (Bette Midler) while Jane works in the mailroom while studying for law school. Corinne convinces Jane, who loves to bake, to commit to a year of baking cakes and bringing them to bars as a way to meet people and build her confidence. In the middle of the year, Corinne is diagnosed with brain cancer. While her parents, Fred (Ron Livingston) and Ruth (Martha Kelly), want to take her back to Phoenix, Corinne convinces them to let her stay with Jane and so their project becomes a way to bring joy to Corinne and make Jane stronger in the process.

I highly recommend you grab your tissues for this one. One of the reasons this film is so good is the content which is all about the love between these two friends. I love the way that throughout the film, each woman supports the other, in good times and bad. They have ups and downs, they fight. With Corinne struggling with cancer, they still are imperfect and don’t always see eye to eye on what Corinne needs or what Jane needs in her life. But the beautiful presentation of their friendship and the pure love between them is what makes this film so extraordinary. Part of that is clearly the authentic writing from Audrey Shulman, who based the story and dedicated it to her best friend Chrissy. She based it on that true story and that truth shines through in this movie.

There are some wonderful lines of dialogue in the movie, even in the introduction, like ‘I swear on my measuring cups’ to assure viewers the story is true. There is a funny scene in the film where Corinne is buying underwear and insisting Jane needs to wear it. This becomes a recurring theme in the film and one of the best lines is Take my underwear. There are wonderful quirky moments, when the girls get a busload of men to try Jane’s cake. Or when Jane meets a guy with an eyepatch. These scenes and some of the results from the cakes add to the humor of the film, even amidst darker scenes. Each cake is a wonder and I really wish we got to see each one but the ones we do see add to the whimsy of the movie. 

What really is the highlight of the film is the acting. The dynamic between Odessa A’Zion and Yara Shahidi as Corinne and Jane is phenomenal. Their acting is emotional and resonates with beauty and friendship. Their performances are powerful and so entwined with the other. I love the energy of Odessa A’Zion as Corinne but I also love the quiet power of Yara Shahidi as Jane. Their chemistry is profoundly good. Ron Livingston and Martha Kelly give beautiful performances as Corinne’s parents, Fred and Ruth. I especially like the interactions between Fred and Jane as they each grapple with Corinne’s illness. Bette Midler brings a lovely warm performance and the secondary actors are all excellent as well. The performances are all emotional and loving.

If there is anything that detracts from the story and the performances, it is the slowness of the film. It does meander and while I like that we get the full length of the year, it could have been better compressed to speed up the film a tiny bit. The story also starts out fairly slow as well. However, once the story delves into the women’s project and Corinne’s illness, it highlights that friendship and becomes a powerful film about women and how important their friendship can be. 

If you like emotional films about love and friendship, I highly recommend this film. It is authentic and real. It does not flinch from the hardest moments but focuses on the friendship between Corinne and Jane. The ending is beautiful and emotional. It is amazingly loving to see a friendship that endures and is supportive. I love the bond that is demonstrated by the actresses, Odessa A’Zion and Yara Shahidi. All the performances are so incredible that it outweighs the slowness of the story and the little moments of humor and love will keep audiences engaged. It is all about love and friendship. I absolutely stayed for the cakes that delight and charm. 

Rating: 4 out of 5 cakes. 

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