Contemporary Review / Review

A Simple Favor

By Stephen Shea

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A Simple Favor (2018) is a delightfully dark and twisty thriller from Paul Feig that is able to show Feig as a competent director of drama while never losing the funnier elements of the script. In the end you have a fun thriller with crazy twists that keeps you guessing until the end.

Anna Kendrick and Blake Lively star as Stephanie and Emily. Stephanie is a kind of dorky overachieving single mom who befriends Stephanie, a fashion executive that is always impeccably dressed. After a short friendship Emily disappears and Stephanie gets drawn into the search for Emily.

The two leads are perfectly cast here.  Stephanie is a mommy vlogger that is always the most involved, which is something that Anna Kendrick plays incredibly well. Emily is a career woman who wears Laboutins to school pick-up every day, something that Blake Lively plays well. Both actresses here are perfectly cast, both giving really great performances that give each character depth beyond their stereotypical nature. They also have great chemistry and portray the friendship well while still having a slight tinge of mystery as to why they would be friends. Henry Golding is also great here as Emily’s husband who may know more than he is letting on.

One of the film’s greatest strengths is that it is able to create a lot of mystery very subtly. It kept me guessing and even when I thought I knew what was going to happen there were just enough new twists and turns to make it incredibly exciting.

If there are any problems in the film, they lie in some of the supporting work from Rupert Friend and Linda Cardellini. They are both in the film briefly, but they don’t feel as central to the plot as they should. Their cameos should have been better as Jean Smart has a brief moment in the film and she shines in her brief moments.

All in all, A Simple Favor is a great, twisty thriller that is as delightful as it is tense.

4 out of 5 stars

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