Are Jane And Corinne Based On Real-Life Audrey Shulman & Chrissy In ‘Sitting In Bars With Cake’?

Once again, we find ourselves faced with another film centered around a protagonist battling cancer, whose impending mortality serves as a catalyst for their best friend’s aspirations and ambitions. Sitting in Bars With Cake falls short of expectations, leaving viewers with dry eyes, even though it’s based on a true story. In fact, even if you steer clear of spoilers, just reading a brief synopsis of the film would pretty much give you the entire plot. However, it’s crucial to emphasize that this critique is not meant to undermine the real-life friendship and experiences of Audrey Shulman and Chrissy, whose remarkable bond inspired the film. Their innovative and somewhat whimsical concept of cake-barring originated from their shared love of sweet treats.


In their twenties, residing in the bustling city of Los Angeles, Audrey faced challenges in meeting and connecting with guys. On a pivotal day, during Chrissy’s birthday celebration, Audrey shared the cake she had baked with everyone at the bar they were in, and it unexpectedly became a sensation. This led to the birth of the cake-barring concept, a story that has now become history. While the film may not reveal whether Audrey successfully found a boyfriend through cake-barring, it showcases her journey of creating cherished memories, penning a book, and having her life story adapted into a movie. However, it’s essential to remember that this entire experience is also a poignant tribute to her best friend, Chrissy, who tragically lost her battle with cancer back in 2013.

In the film, Jane replaces Audrey, and Corinne replaces Chrissy. Jane’s life is sad and boring because she’s an introverted person who doesn’t like to have fun. Haha, tell us something unusual, please. In fact, Jane is actually really fun and extremely type A. She also has the delightful hobby of baking. Jane is best friends with the outgoing and charming Corinne, who wants her to burst out of her bubble and have her; How do you say it, live a little. Jane usually starts by hating Corinne’s ideas and then being forced to adopt them. Maybe they fit like puzzle pieces, but sometimes you can let a person be. Corinne is the one who suggests Jane start cake-barring, and it actually becomes a thing. They make lists, and everything is wonderful until Corinne is diagnosed with cancer. The film tries to draw parallels between Corinne’s battle with cancer and Jane’s determination to bake. The movie tries to insinuate that, if Corinne hadn’t had cancer, Jane may have never told her parents the truth about not wanting to be a lawyer.


Jane and Corinne love each other unconditionally. There’s not a single moment in the film where Corinne seems to be selfish for asking Jane’s help or where Jane seems to be the one doing too much for her friend, asking for nothing in return. It is clear, their bond is unusual. They’re more like family than friends. Having known each other for over a decade and later living with each other, it only makes sense that they would be that close. Jane focuses herself on trying to get Corinne better for most of the film because that’s her coping mechanism. She doesn’t want to believe or accept that her friend is dying; Instead, she wants to push to make sure she doesn’t. Unfortunately, her efforts did not have the desired payoff, but they still had a huge impact on Corinne.

Even through the dark mood swings, the arguments, and all the pain, both girls are able to find each other at the end of the day. Yara Shahidi and Odessa A’zion make this friendship so believable, that it’s hard to believe, it’s not actually their real story. Strong female friendships always feel emotionally powerful, and even in a failed script, there are some things that make you feel a little bit better. What disappoints me is, that we hear all this talk about how amazing the cake is, but we never seem to see it.


Corinne is the one who wishes for Jane to go cakebarring, so she continues on her journey, even when Corinne is hospitalized to give her some Motivation for Something to come back to. But we never see her as a confident young woman with cakes all alone in a bar. How can this shy girl manage this without her best Friend? Jane being able to push herself to do this for Corinne is a very big deal, but if we don’t see it, how do we believe it? It’s possible, that, since the fact that Jane is determined to get a man isn’t really established in the film at all, that the whole endeavor a big What? If this journey was only supposed to make Jane confident and more outgoing, then she could’ve spoken to people at a baking class instead. At the same time, if it was to show her the way into baking, she wouldn’t have to take the cakes to bars because she never really gets a boyfriend from it, just random conversations and party-starter experiences.

If we look at Sitting in Bars With Cake, while completely ignoring the name of the film, we may see it in an entirely different light. There’s something extraordinary about the friendship between Jane and Corinne. Corinne’s feelings of fear and dread and everything unexpected because of the Cancer are so palpable and the truest part of the film. The effect the cancer has on both of their lives truly makes you feel like you wish you had such a deep and tender friendship. As much as the slices of cake are meant to be real, it is the friendship that feels most authentic in Sitting in Bars With Cake.


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Ruchika Bhat
Ruchika Bhat
Ruchika, or "Ru," is a fashion designer and stylist by day and a serial binge-watcher by night. She dabbles in writing when she has the chance and loves to entertain herself with reading, K-pop dancing, and the occasional hangout with friends.

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