A group of women are in a support group for chronic pain sufferers, led by Annette (Felicity Huffman). They want to put closure to one of their members, Nina (Anna Kendrick) who has killed herself a month ago. Various ladies say how upset they are that Nina didn’t reach out for help and that she left her son behind. The therapist then asks Claire (Jennifer Aniston) for her feelings. Claire has scars all over her face; she reminds the group that Nina jumped off a freeway overpass -- where the 110 and 105 meet -- fell onto a flatbed truck full of used furniture heading to Acapulco, and wasn’t discovered for hours. Her body then had to be sent back in Rubbermaid containers which got stuck in customs for a week before her husband could claim it. Claire applauds Nina because she doesn’t like when suicide is made easy on the survivors.
Claire is driven home in a taxi. She has been laying down in backseat, not able to sit upright due to her pain. Her hired help, Silvana (Adriana Barraza), is there, making her a meal because Claire has gone without eating. Claire listens to some voicemails one is from Annette who asks her to find another support group, one that can help her with her anger issues. The second is from her husband who she has recently separated from; he wants to come by and pick up the rest of his things but only when she isn’t there.
Home alone, Claire gathers prescription bottles from a hiding spot in her house. She is almost out of pills. She tosses and turns at night, in severe pain. Claire goes into her backyard and soaks in her pool while an opossum watches. She is woken up the next morning by Silvana; while getting ready, Claire refuses to put scar gel on her scars.
Silvana drives Claire who, once again, has to lie riding down in the car because of her pain. They stop by the doctor’s but the nurse (Lucy Punch) hasn’t gotten approved for prescriptions; after buttering her up, Claire is given prescriptions for Percocet and Oxycodone. At home, she tells Silvana to go home early and then has sex with the pool man, Arturo. After they are done, she gives him a tub filled with a child’s toys for his kids. Outside, Silvana has been waiting in her car; she fights with the pool man, demanding that the toys be kept in Claire’s possession despite her giving them away.
Silvana goes home to her family; her daughter tells her to quit her job since Claire doesn’t pay her enough to put up with her shit. Silvana defends Claire and then puts the tub of toys in her closet, alongside other tubs she has had to confiscate after Claire gave them away.
In her bed, Claire tosses, in pain. She hears a knock coming from the backyard. When she goes to observe, it is revealed to be the deceased Nina, lounging on an inflatable raft. They talk and Nina taunts her, asking why she doesn’t kill herself considering she is an atheist. Nina then holds Claire under the water. Claire wakes up from the nightmare.
The next day, Claire is in aquatic therapy, being very difficult towards her therapist, Bonnie (Mamie Gummer). Claire complains that it hurts and Bonnie says she has had pins in her legs for over a year and it’s going to hurt. Bonnie notes that the doctor wants to know why there has been zero improvement in six months and suggests Claire finds someone else to work with. Later, when everyone is gone, Claire is alone by the pool. She tries to kill herself, using weights to hold herself underneath the water, but she resurfaces.
Silvana drives Claire to the 110 and 105 where Nina jumped. Claire asks a MTA employee who witnessed her death what he saw he says she was up there for a long while before she jumped. Claire walks over to the spot where Nina jumped while Silvana waits in the car, nervous. Nina takes a moment and then jumps off the ledge, too but it ends up being another nightmare.
Claire greets Annette at the support group office she threatens to sue the group for discriminating against her, citing a previous case (revealing Claire used to be a lawyer). Claire then says she’s joking and she is there to ask for Nina’s address; when Annette refuses, Claire tells her she’s no longer kidding about the lawsuit.
Claire shows up at Nina’s house and meets her husband, Roy (Sam Worthington). She tells him she used to live in the house and he gives her a tour, including his son’s room. As she’s leaving, Roy tells her that Annette had given him a heads up and he knows she’s from the support group.
Having run out of medicine, Claire asks Silvana to take her to Tijuana. Again, Claire lies down during the whole ride because of the pain. When they arrive, they visit a pharmacy but are warned that they won’t get through the border without prescriptions. The pharmacist sells her a religious statue to smuggle pills in, telling her she won’t get caught because she’s a rich White woman. Silvana also buys some laundry detergent that they don’t sell in America.
Claire tells Silvana to take her to her favorite restaurant, despite how expensive it is. While there, Silvana runs into two old friends who are condescending towards her, chastising her husband for having a low-wage job and her daughter for not being married. Claire picks up on this and makes it sound like Silvana is her friend and that the two are in Tijuana for recreation; she also makes it seem as if Silvana has treated Claire to lunch when the waiter gives Silvana the receipt. When they get to the border checkpoint, the patrolman is suspicious of Claire for lying back in her seat and they are pulled over and have their car searched.
At the U.S. Customs and Border Protection office (we later learned the detergent is what got confiscated), Claire calls her husband (Chris Messina). When they later arrive at her house, he is sitting outside, waiting for them. He mentions he wanted to make sure they got home okay and didn’t call because she never turns her phone on and never returns voicemail. He asks for a thank you for using his position in a government office to get her released; she doesn’t offer any. He remains friendly, refusing to leave until she tells him how she’s doing. Claire sits with him and tells him she’s been better. She then tells him she doesn’t want to have sex but asks if he’ll stay in her room with her until she falls asleep. He does.
The next morning, Claire is waiting for Nina’s husband at his home. She asks for a ride and he tells her he has to run an errand first she leans back in her chair while he drives and apologizes for coming off like a stalker. They end up at a cemetery where he hangs a wind chime over Nina’s grave. They end up at a dive bar and talk about his reaction to Nina’s death; he says in a support group, he had to speak to a partner as if she was Nina and he had told her, ‘thank you for ruining my life and my son’s life’ and that he hates her and hopes she burns in Hell.
Back at her place, Claire asks Roy to sleep with her, not in a sexual way but so neither has to be alone.
The next day, a box falls out of Claire’s closet with a Billy Joel CD. That night, she listens to it and sings along, somberly. She takes a cab to Rob’s house she tells him she was worried he was going to kill himself but he knows she just didn’t want to be alone.
Claire raids Nina’s medicine cabinet, still with unused prescriptions in it. Rob falls asleep immediately and, high on Percocet, Claire is greeted by a premonition of Nina who playfully calls her a slut and tells Claire she uses people.
The next morning, a doorbell awakes Rob and Claire he forgot his mother is dropping his son back home. The boy walks in on Claire in the bathroom, taking more pills. He asks why her face is covered in scars; she asks him to let her finish peeing. In his truck, the boy tells Claire his birthday is coming up and that he wants a kite in the shape of a shark. The father and son stop by Nina’s grave and admire the new hanging chimes while Claire waits in the car, taking more of Nina’s medication.
The three of them go to a restaurant and Claire spies Nina in the back. But after confronting her, the vision quickly disappears.
Roy shows up at Claire’s house, returning a purse she left at his house. Silvana takes it from him but he says he’ll wait in front because he’s worried about her. She invites him in.
Roy waits while Claire sleeps. When she awakes, he shares the suicide note Nina left for him it simply says “FORGIVE ME.” He tells Claire that Silvana told him about her accident and the death of her little boy. When Claire later talks to Silvana, she learns that Roy and his son have been invited for lunch in a few days where she’ll make her famous tamales.
At her aquatic therapy class, Claire apologizes to Bonnie for coming off like an uncooperative old bitch and explains that she’s just in a lot of pain. Bonnie encourages her to make an attempt to get better. Claire then goes to the center where the support group is held and apologizes to Annette for blackmailing her she gives her a large bottle of vodka as a goodwill gesture.
Roy and his son come over to Claire’s house; the boy wants to go swimming but hasn’t brought his swimsuit. Claire suggests borrowing one of her son’s old bathing suits and goes into his room for the first time since his death Silvana finds her struggling to open a taped-up box and ushers her out of the room.
In the backyard, Roy tells Claire he’s left his support group and is going to go back to work next week. Roy notes that Claire is looking more put together. He asks how Claire can still live in her house, surrounded by all the memories. She brushes off the question and goes back inside. She grabs some medication from her hiding spot.
During their tamale lunch, Roy asks about a spot on the wall where a painting has been removed but she brushes the question off. They are interrupted when Silvana tells them a man (William H. Macy) has shown up at the front door and refuses to leave. When Claire goes to see who it is, she breaks down and tells him to get off her fucking property before she calls the police. It’s obviously the man who caused the car accident that killed her son and caused all her pain. He tells her he can’t live with himself but she is unforgiving and attacks him. She stops short when she sees Roy’s son watching on.
The medication is starting to affect Claire her eyes burn. She tries to take more medication for the pain but ends up getting worse, vomiting. Claire ends up at the hospital, awakening to Silvana at her bedside, praying with rosary beads. Roy visits. She sleeps through it all.
Claire has a premonition of Nina entering the hospital with a cake. Nina reminds Claire that in the support group, they were asked what their dream would be if they didn’t have chronic pain. Claire had answered she’d have sex with the entire Madrid soccer but Nina had replied that she’d want to make a birthday cake for her son from scratch. The premonition ends with Nina throwing the cake out a window and then jumping right after. Claire wakes up screaming, pulling out her IV and asking for no more drugs.
After seeing a special on a drive-in theater in Riverside, Claire remembers her first date with her husband they went to a drive-in and she found out he liked Billy Joel. After being released, Claire orders Silvana to take her to Riverside. When they arrive, they watch a movie at the drive-in. Claire is in pain without her drugs and says she needs to get out of the car. She sneaks through a hole in the fence and sees Nina sitting on train tracks. Claire joins her. Nina talks her into killing herself. As they both lay down on the tracks, Nina tells that her last thoughts are important and all she gets to take with her Claire remembers McDonald’s French fries, Coppertone sunscreen, playing a mouse in The Nutcracker. She then recalls that she was a good mother, repeating this twice.
Silvana finds Claire on the tracks and after they are back in the parking lot she goes on and on in Spanish about how frustrated she is with Claire. Silvana is interrupted when Claire points out their car has been stolen.
Claire and Silvana take a cab to a motel and spend the night. Inside, Claire invites Silvana to share her bed instead of sleeping on a chair. They hold hands.
Silvana loads their rental car and then returns to the motel. A young runaway girl (Britt Robertson) tries to break into the SUV but runs into Claire who was lying back in the passenger seat. She learns the girl is from Boise and is headed for Los Angeles. They give her a ride. She tells them she’s going to be an actress; they tell her she’s going to end up in porn. Claire then offers the girl $100 to make her a yellow cake with fudge frosting.
When they get back to her place, the girl sets out to bake. There is a note on the kitchen counter from Claire’s husband (who has stopped by to get his things while she was gone) that says “He belongs here.” She goes into the living room and sees the picture she had taken down hanging again it is of Claire and her son in a happy moment. She cries but leaves the picture hanging, even calling her husband to thank him for the gift.
Silvana wakes up Claire after she falls asleep, informing her that the runaway girl has stolen her purse. Claire is not an angry person anymore; she doesn’t even want to press charges. On the countertop is the homemade cake Claire delivers the cake to Roy’s house, along with a shark kite for his son’s birthday.
Claire is driven to her son’s gravesite by Silvana. She puts wind chimes over his grave, just like Roy did at Nina’s. Back in the car, Claire has a sudden urge to try to sit upright. She changes her mind at first but as the film concludes, she pulls the lever and the chair returns to sitting position. Claire exhales deeply, content.
*CUT TO THE CHASE*
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Claire is an acerbic but pleasant woman who has become embittered with her life after surviving a car accident, which killed her child and left her in chronic pain. She becomes fascinated with Nina, another woman with chronic pain who recently committed suicide, visiting her home and befriending her husband and son. Together, Claire and Nina’s husband deal with their losses and become happier people.
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