A SIMPLE FAVOUR - 2018 film

blake lively, anna kendrick, thriller, dark, mystery
Director: Paul Feig.
Cast: Blake Lively / Anna Kendrick / Henry Golding.
Score: Theodore Shapiro.
Cinematography: John Schwartzman.
Content Advisory: R for sexual content, frequent language, drug use, violence, and some graphic nudity.
Source: Rented.

Stephanie is a single mother with a parenting vlog who befriends Emily, a secretive upper-class woman who has a child at the same elementary school. When Emily goes missing, Stephanie takes it upon herself to investigate.  

You know that feeling when you just want to watch a movie that’s not too heavy that it’s emotionally taxing, but not too fluffy that it’s cheap and silly? Well, this film is your answer.

The dialogue is dazzling, dripping with juicy subtext and biting with powerful characterisation. The lead female characters are vividly realised, the aesthetic is slick and stylish, the cinematography is good, the editing is sharp, and the costumes are divine. There are many beautiful outfits, and each one flatters the actresses' figures and colouring.

The story is gripping. It's entertainment and fun on a captivating level. It's something I'd re-watch again and again simply because it's so fun and escapist. I also love how faithful it is to the book, with only a few changes/additions (which turn out to be improvements upon the novel). The mystery aspect and backstory is even presented more convincingly than it is in the book, and I found it a lot easier to follow and understand. Rarely does a movie improve upon the novel, but this film makes some intelligent, purposeful changes.

The ending of the film, however, is somewhat disappointing. The good thing is that it resolves the story and provides a satisfying conclusion - unlike the book. So I'm pleased about that. But the way it chooses to end the story is not executed well. Satisfying, yes, but also bizarre. It's not sophisticated - it's completely out of tone and character with the rest of the film - and it comes across childish and theatrical.
But at least it does resolve everything. 

a simple favour, thriller, dark, mystery, gone girl, romance, sex, lies

I'm not a big fan of Blake Lively and Anna Kendrick, and initially I was skeptical that they could pull off these characters. To my surprise, and delight, they blew me away in their opening scenes.

Blake and Anna are mesmerising. They slip into these characters with effortless charisma, and deliver stunning performances that radiant with personality and believability. They've understood these characters so well, and have simply become them with what appears to be zero effort. It's fascinating. It's also not surprising that the best scenes in the movie are when Blake and Anna are together, seated on the sofa, sipping martini's and divulging secrets. As fantastic as Anna is, I wish Blake had more screen time and that both women shared more scenes. I could watch them gossip and chat on that pristine white sofa for hours. If the whole movie had taken place there, I would have been content. 

The only weak link of the cast is Henry Golding. He portrays Emily's husband, Sean, and compared to the smooth performances of the leading actresses, his performance comes off superficial and contrived. He's miscast. He's also not how I pictured Shaun from the book, and he doesn't give the depth and conviction to the character as the actresses do so instantly to theirs. Next to Blake and Anna, he's an interposition.

These filmmakers have spilled the pages of A Simple Favour onto the big screen and the result is a heady rush of scandal, schemes, and sophistication. With enthralling female leads, seductive ambience, and a delectable slice of sinful gossip, this film is a sugary treat with a stab of spice. 

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