The best description I’ve seen for A Simple Favor so far is that it’s a post-modern Film Noir. Except instead of an alcoholic detective you have a tea-tottling vlogger mum.
Anna Kendrick plays Stephanie Ward, the aforementioned vlogger. She meets Emily Nelson via their sons hanging out in primary school. Emily is a bombshell of a woman who has unapologetically made her way through a mans world. She’s aloof, savage, and mysterious. After the two become friends, things get strange. Emily disappears and a mystery unfolds in front of Stephanie that she must solve. Add into the mix Emily’s husband Sean, played by the new man of the hour Henry Golding (the pair of abs from Crazy Rich Asians), and you have a love triangle with all the sharp points ready to cut a hole in anyone who makes a wrong move.
Blake Lively brings sexual tension to every scene she’s in. Her character is the sort you wouldn’t want to leave alone with your boyfriend, or girlfriend for that matter… Or anything that moves really.
My only issue with the film is that it seems to try and bring levity into situations when the film as a whole takes darker and darker turns. It makes sense at the beginning when the parenting group at the local school makes snarky comments for comedic relief, but these characters are occasionally cut back to at odd moments that have a bizarre tonal shift. It’s almost as if it were cut for an entirely different film. The clever tete-a-tete between the two leads is engaging, but I’m never sure if Kendrick’s goofiness is supposed to be sincere or comedic.
Either way, it makes for a satisfying character development across the arc of the film. If you were looking for a drama and a fun mystery that dances on the very edges of sinister darkness then A Simple Favor is for you.
P.S. It kills me that I had to spell favour wrong every time I wrote the title.