Anna Kendrick stars as Stephanie, a buttoned-up mommy vlogger who befriends the mysterious and ultra glam Emily (Blake Lively), at her son’s school. The two women could not be more different, yet they enjoy knocking back martinis together and swapping secrets during their sons’ playdates. When Emily vanishes into thin air, Stephanie launches her own investigation, determined to find out what happened to her friend.
A Simple Favor is a thrilling mystery with delightfully absurd twists and turns. It doesn’t seem to take itself too seriously and neither should we.
I think that the best thing about this movie is that it knows exactly what it is from the beginning. It’s not a somber character study or a suspenseful, slow-burning thriller like the 2014 movie Gone Girl, which many of us drew comparisons to early on. Favor is its own thing entirely. One moment it’s tense and suspenseful, and then before you know it, you’re guffawing at a crude joke likely made by one of the moms.
Favor does start out as a traditional thriller and there are popular movie tropes present; there’s a manipulative wife with a hankering for mischief, surprising reveals about said wife’s childhood, an explosion of sordid secrets and let’s not forget a clueless husband (i.e. dreamy Henry Golding). All the things that normally make these kinds of movies predictable. And yet, there is very little that you could predict about the turn of events in this movie.
A Simple Favor also features some of the most interesting characters I’ve seen on the big screen this year. Emily is obviously the most layered and has the most dramatic backstory, however, Kendrick’s character Stephanie is equally enticing, and there is more to her than meets the eye. She hasn’t always been the perfect well-put-together mom she appears to be. Lively and Kendrick have a great chemistry together onscreen and it was fun seeing their characters go from strangers, to buds, and eventually frenemies.
The musical score (and soundtrack) both help enhance the mystery, with much of the songs being in French. I liked that small detail and at times it almost felt like being transported back in time to a Parisian café or drifting along the French Riveria on an expensive yacht. The music really helped tell the story and isn’t that how it should be?
Favor has plenty of dark humor to go around, and the twists and turns will keep you entertained, even if some of the reveals seem a little wacky or like something out of a soap opera. There were some elements of this story that wouldn’t work in any other film, yet Kendrick and Lively (under the direction of Paul Feig) somehow make it work. If you are a fan of dark comedies and gravitate towards to mysteries, I think you’ll enjoy A Simple Favor.
A Simple Favor is directed by Paul Feig (Bridesmaids, Ghostbusters) and based on the novel by Darcey Bell. It stars Anna Kendrick, Blake Lively, Henry Golding, Bashir Salahuddin, Aparna Nancherla and Andrew Rannells. It’s currently in theaters!
Have you seen A Simple Favor yet? If so, let’s talk spoilers in the comments down below! What did YOU think about that ending?