Might not be Oscar material, but it is bloody good fun.
⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
In A Simple Favour, Stephanie (Anna Kendrick) makes friends with glamorous fellow mum Emily (Blake Lively) at her son’s school. When Emily goes missing, Stephanie becomes determined to find out what happened to her. By utilising her network of followers on her vlog, Stephanie ends up uncovering more than she ever expected…
Director Paul Feig – known for female-led comedies such as Bridesmaids, The Heat and the all-female Ghostbusters remake – makes a departure from overly crude humour to deliver an unexpected new offering. A Simple Favour is a dark thriller with an air of sophistication to it, and this change in direction for Feig is both strategic and welcome.
Lively plays Emily with the feel of an unpolished diamond. She is the epitome of the working mum many aspire to be – elegant, trendy and unapologetic – and Lively seems very comfortable playing the character with a bit of fire. Unlike many of her previous roles that have tended to be a bit sappy and emotionally wearing, her turn as Emily is fierce and daring, and the type of character I hope Lively continues to play.
Kendrick plays Stephanie as, well… Anna Kendrick. But it actually suits this role. Her natural hyperactivity doesn’t become tiresome given her self-awareness and ability to poke fun at herself. Stephanie is the ying to Emily’s yang as a stay-at-home mum whose penchant for cooking and crafts makes her the butt of the other parent’s jokes.
Whilst the film is a thriller, it is filled with moments of dark humour and gutsy punchlines that are both shocking and hilarious at the same time. It’s a nice touch and separates A Simple Favour from the onslaught of thriller novels-turned-films that have graced our screens in recent years, from Gone Girl, to The Girl on a Train and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.
A Simple Favour does have its down sides, however. Parts of the story are rushed and there are a few questions that are left unanswered but given the strong character development I was more forgiving of these flaws. The strength of A Simple Favour lies in its ability to portray two contrasting portrayals of what it means to be a mother in today’s day and age. It’s an unexpected delight and I would encourage all to see it.
A Simple Favour is available in Australian cinemas from September 13
Image courtesy of Roadshow Films