I love this genre! Mysteries and psychological thrillers can be some of the most entertaining films if done right. The trick is keeping things interesting. Plot twists are really a must have and the story has to insert something that’ll throw the audience off the trail, or at least distract us in some way. If you have both of these things and a capable cast that commits to their roles, then you get A Simple Favor.
A Simple Favor follows three main characters. We have two mothers, Emily and Stephanie, and Emily’s husband, Sean. Emily and Stephanie meet while picking up their children at school and soon become good friends. But not too long after that, for no apparent reason, Emily disappears without a trace. This leaves Stephanie and Sean wondering what’s happened. And this is when we start to see who Emily really was and the different pieces of the puzzle start to come together. Trust and believe that you will be pretty damn surprised by some of the answers to the many questions.This film is very smart. The dialogue is sharp and witty – especially the exchanges between Lively and Kendrick – and nothing felt super cliché, . They both tear their roles up in this film. I was expecting good performances, judging from their previous work, but wow I was blown away. The scenes where it’s just them having martinis and talking are so well done. The two compliment each other perfectly, plus we discover some of the skeletons in their closets during these exchanges.
This is a kind of role that I’ve never really seen from Blake Lively. Her character, Emily, is very distant and mysterious, and will say anything that enters her mind. Whereas her new friend Stephanie is the antithesis of that. Stephanie is a mommy vlogger who always has everything neat and under control, and is constantly apologizing. Anna Kendrick does very well portraying this character. And Henry Golding has good things coming to him. I knew that from Crazy Rich Asians and his performance in this movie just reinforced that opinion.
The plot goes many different places and with each turn, you’re still guessing and wondering who’s up to what. I would think it’s next to impossible not to be totally engrossed while watching this, due to the eerie backstories we get and the realization of what might really be going on. The screenwriters should be given credit here because this is one of those films with a story that is so engaging and very refreshing to watch in a sea of generic thrillers.
The tone is another interesting and different thing about this film as it’s both dark and light. I don’t think I’ve seen a thriller that can have such serious dark events but still manage to have moments of great comedy. One problem some films have is a confused tone, where they try to be two things simultaneously and it just doesn’t work. That doesn’t happen here and it may be the best example I’ve seen of a mixed tone that works. The look and overall style is another aspect to be admired, the clothes and the lavish surroundings contribute to the overall chic appearance. This look really works in the films favor.
All in all, A Simple Favor is a sexy, stylish, extremely well written thriller that is sure to satisfy anyone looking for this type of film. This is the most satisfied I’ve felt leaving the movies in some time, definitely one of the absolute best in its genre.