A SIMPLE FAVOR, directed by Paul Feig, centers around Stephanie (Anna Kendrick), a mommy vlogger who seeks to uncover the truth behind her best friend Emily’s (Blake Lively) sudden disappearance from their small town. Stephanie is a young, single mother who is sweet and practically the class mom. Her life is almost centered around her child, as shown through her vlog for other moms and lack of alcoholic drinking. Emily is on the other end of the spectrum and is a busy businesswoman who day drinks and has a busy life outside of her child, as opposed to Stephanie. Emily is a mystery to all the other class moms and dads, and Stephanie shoves her foot in the door of Emily’s life through a playdate with their children, and from there the film takes off.
A Simple Favor is a fun thriller with funny moments and also a dark plot that has suspense and elements of horror implemented. This movie is developed well, with interesting thematic elements and a solid soundtrack backing the action of the film. However, for me, the film is almost split into two halves, one which I absolutely loved and the other which seemed over the top and unimpressive. The first was charming and had dark, thriller-like moments matched with comedy and great characters performed by great actors. Yet the second half was frankly so over the top that it lost all emphasis and realistic aspects that made the first part so incredible.
The acting in this movie was impressive, with Anna Kendrick displaying quality emotion and helping the audience delve into her character and identify with her experiences. Blake Lively also performed her role well, and displayed her character effectively, even though her character went over the top as the movie progressed. Although Emily was not written in the best way, Lively performed the role to the best of her ability. Henry Golding also stars as Emily’s writer husband, who becomes Stephanie’s love interest as the movie progresses. His acting was charming and he was an interesting character, yet I felt that his acting went downhill along with the plot as the movie progressed.
An element that I appreciated about this film was the storytelling through Stephanie’s blog. Although this technological FaceTime-like form of storytelling has popularized in cinematic culture, I think that it is an interesting view to take on the film, both literally and figuratively. Stephanie’s emotions are displayed well in this form and demonstrate her character well. From a directorial standpoint, I thought that this was different and was an interesting move to make.
Ultimately, A Simple Favor was a well-developed thriller that got more incredulous as it went along, which detracted from the emotion and societal commentary that was heavily featured in this first half. That being said, it had quality emotion and funny moments as well as displaying well-developed production and directorial elements.
Sean: She’s an enigma my wife. You can get close to her, but you never quite reach her. She’s like a, beautiful ghost.
Emily: Everyone has a dark side.