The dark comedy keeps audiences on their toes, with plot twists at every turn.
“A Simple Favor,” starring Anna Kendrick and Blake Lively, is about a woman named Stephanie (Kendrick) who tries to figure out the disappearance and death of her best friend Emily (Lively). Seems simple right? Wrong. This movie has so many twists and turns in it that every time you think you know what is going on and what is going to happen, something new arrives.
The movie is fascinating and captivating from beginning to end, starting and ending with a “Mommy Vlog” that Kendrick’s character runs. In her first vlog, she tells of how she and Emily met, and throughout the rest of the movie, the vlogs come up every so often as a way for more information to be shared without feeling forced. Every time an important plot point arrives, Stephanie expands on, in the guise of giving helpful hints to viewers of her vlogs.
It is a rated-R movie, so there is language and mild nudity, as well as small scenes of a sexual nature, but all of this is juxtaposed with comedy from Andrew Rannells’s character (you might recognize him from “The Book of Mormon”), a stay-at-home dad who gossips with the other moms at the school.
Scenes and comments that seem like throwaway lines at the beginning end up being important plot points in the end; no stone is left unturned, and basic tropes are twisted into a new and refreshing view. From how Emily likes her martinis to a painting that is only focused on for 30 seconds, everything is important. Without giving too much away, if you go see it, keep an eye on that painting, as well as how Emily got it. Up until the end, I was sitting at the edge of my seat, with no idea what to expect.
Every character is fleshed out, from Kendrick’s character to the secretary at the design company where Lively’s character works. Kendrick’s character has the luxury of having the entire run time to be fleshed out, but the smaller one-scene characters stand out in their own way, as the secretary gives an astoundingly funny performance in her minute long scene.
The kids in the movie, while not the main characters, also play an integral part, as they are the driving force of the movie in their own subtle way. They are how Kendrick’s and Lively’s characters originally meet and how the plot is driven in certain scenes, without giving too much away. Henry Golding’s (“Crazy Rich Asians”) character, Lively’s husband in the movie, is also a driving force, but not as much as one would expect the husband to be, until roughly the last fourth of the movie.
Above all, this movie is about the relationships between people and what they mean, and how you should never underestimate someone for who they are. It is about the relationship between parent and child, husband and wife, siblings to one another. How to not underestimate someone because of gender or background, or of how they present themselves.
It is a fantastic movie, and I highly recommend everyone go and see it, whether by yourself or with a friend. On a side note, I also recommend reading the comments that pop up at the bottom of the vlogs, as they are also very entertaining.