Equally heartwarming and heartbreaking, Trish Sie’s Sitting in Bars with Cake is an emotional rollercoaster worth every smile and tear.
When it comes to conveying female friendships onscreen, there are no limits to what can be shown. No stranger to these themes, Pitch Perfect 3 director Trish Sie returns to share a bittersweet story about two women faced with an unexpected challenge that will alter their lives forever. Yara Shahidi and Odessa A’zion star in Sitting in Bars with Cake as best friends in their 20s taking Los Angeles by storm. Inspired by true events, Audrey Shulman’s story showcases the strength of friendship amidst life’s cruelest challenges. Equally heartwarming and heartbreaking, Sitting in Bars with Cake is an emotional rollercoaster worth every smile and tear.
Shulman’s story follows best friends Jane (Shahidi) and Corinne (A’zion), as they navigate their new life in Los Angeles in their 20s. Corinne is the ultimate extrovert and successful businesswoman, and she has no trouble finding the beauty in all aspects of life. Jane, on the other hand, is extremely shy and struggles to find her passions in her career and relationships. To assist with her confidence, Jane undertakes “cakebarring,” which entails using her talents as a home baker to bring cakes to bars with the goal of meeting new people. Just as the two find a rhythm in their new adventure, Corinne receives a life-altering diagnosis, which changes their plans and lives forever.
Sitting in Bars with Cake is exactly the kind of story you’d expect it to be while delivering on the joys and triumphs of female friendship. Shulman’s script delivers on its intent to captivate audiences and reminds us to see the beauty in life no matter our age, experience, or circumstances. Jane and Corinne are the perfect examples to capture life in your 20s while embarking on new experiences with friends. Through these characters, the film nicely represents the idea of being bold while you’re young and living life to its fullest to make memories that could last a lifetime.
Of course, life isn’t always rainbows and butterflies, which is convincingly showcased in Sie’s feature. At some point during their year-long cakebarring events, Corinne receives devastating news about her health that will alter her life forever. This is also where the film pivots from its lighthearted tone to take a more serious approach in demonstrating the realities of Corinne’s circumstance. Sie and Shulman’s work truly excels here and features the reality of uncertainty in friendship, health, and self-discovery. While it’s easy to compare this feature to similar works in the genre, Sitting in Bars with Cake offers a limitless sincerity that is both emotionally painful and beautifully uplifting.
One of the best aspects of this story is how it centers the characters and their growth rather than the circumstances in which they find themselves. Simultaneously, each person gets an adequate amount of time to showcase the impact of their experiences on their livelihood. To that end, Shahidi’s performance is so easy to invest in as she possesses an undeniable likability. Her authenticity is effortless as she portrays a character with a heart of pure gold. A’zion’s performance is also a standout, and she is simply showstopping. Her irresistible magnetism will keep your eyes glued during every scene. She brings a type of energy that most people crave in friendship throughout their lives. I couldn’t have been more impressed. This is the role that should propel her career forward.
An appropriate mix of levity and devastation, Sitting in Bars with Cake is a heartwarming journey about endless support, friendship, and appreciating life. Sie and Shulman bring a heartwarming message to a story surrounded by uncertainty and sadness with warm genuineness. With films like this, it’s easy to pick apart its silliness or even the corny messaging. However, there’s a bigger story here worth discussing, and it’s that no matter what life throws at us, true friendship and unconditional love are the keys to happiness, even with the uncertainties and battles we face along the way.
Sitting in Bars with Cake is now streaming on Prime Video. The film is two hours long and rated PG-13 for strong language, some drug use, sexual references and thematic elements.