‘A Simple Favor’ film review
By Lauren Kelly, Graphics Manager
A Simple Favor is a whirlwind of a film. It alternates between thriller, mystery, romance, and comedy with deftness throughout, a balancing act that many others might struggle with. It’s directed by Paul Feig, who has become well-known for creating funny, dynamic films with female leads, and it’s not surprising to see him shine again here.
The two lead actresses, Blake Lively and Anna Kendrick, are amazing in their roles. Lively plays Emily, a smart, stylish, sarcastic, and very private woman who keeps everyone at arm’s length. Kendrick is Stephanie, a bubbly, cute, overachieving woman who livestreams her own cooking and crafts show and never swears. The two meet because their sons are in the same class. They begin hanging out mostly because Emily is entertained by Stephanie’s naivety. The film is at its best during scenes between the two of them—Emily’s cold humour, sexuality, and cynicism and Stephanie’s desire to impress her create a very compelling dynamic.
If you’ve seen any of the advertising for the film, this won’t spoil much: Emily goes missing. She asks Stephanie to watch her son one day and doesn’t come home. This is the main driving force of the plot as Stephanie goes into overdrive sleuthing, trying to discover what happened to her friend. A wrench is thrown into this by Sean (Henry Golding), Emily’s husband, who wants to help but is under a lot of suspicion as well. Golding is good in the film, but he is often overshadowed by the two lead women, whose personalities just happen to be a lot more interesting than Sean’s.
The mystery of Emily’s disappearance and all of the film’s twists and turns are incredibly engaging. It’s exciting watching Stephanie work to discover what happened. However, Emily is such a dynamic character that whenever she’s not on screen it feels like the film is missing something. This isn’t a fixable flaw without rewriting the central plot, but it is a huge compliment to Lively’s performance of the character. My only other complaint with the film has to do with the tone of its conclusion but giving away more than that would spoil the plot.
Overall, A Simple Favor is sexy, stylish, thrilling, and incredibly funny. The fashion within the film is at the forefront—every suit or dress that Emily dons is stunning and attention-grabbing. Its use of dark humour shines through as well, so any fans of a good dark comedy would be remiss to skip this. Even though it has a couple of small missteps, the engaging plot, beautiful visuals, and performances by the two leads are enough to make this a worthwhile watch for fans of any genre.