A Simple Favour follows Stephanie Smothers (Anna Kendrick), who epitomises the playground perfect mum and practically runs the school. Alongside this, she has a semi-successful vlog which achieves fame when her best friend Emily (Blake Lively) goes missing. Emily is a martini-chugging, career-minded powerhouse who doesn’t take no for an answer; the two strike up a questionable friendship which leads to solving the mystery of ‘What happened to Emily?’, the stirring tagline of the film.
Playing lead roles, the female powerhouses that are Lively and Kendrick really push their boundaries here as both women (especially Lively, who is somewhat typecast) explore their new roles with ease and give two outstanding performances. Particularly Lively, who without doubt has just had her movie star moment.
It’s difficult to criticise A Simple Favour but, to nitpick, the pace of the film somewhat lags in parts. Without spoiling the plot, as the story unravels and you find out more information you expect it to carry at the same pace, but it slows. However, this lack of pace is made up for in later scenes where everything culminates in yet another twist. Genre is difficult to pin on A Simple Favour as director Paul Fieg’s direction is somewhat confusing. The film doesn’t fit the classic conventions of a thriller nor of a comedy. There is a focus on comedic value, and it did compliment certain scenes, however it verged on awkward in places.
The film screams style. Lively, who is a style icon for most, captures her character’s power even down to the power suits with heels. Costume plays a huge part in representing their personalities; Kendrick is in pristine put-together mumsy looks and Lively dabbles with new androgynous fashion trends. As the characters develop, so do their outfits. This detail by Renée Ehrlich Kalfus adds to the film’s desirability. The noir-like film has a capturing soundtrack from various artists, with a focus on French music; aiding the story-telling with key sounds which fit various moods perfectly.
A Simple Favour is one to watch, and then watch again. And potentially buy on DVD. A film which will only highlight Lively’s star qualities and further Feig’s career hugely, while giving Kendrick more of a push to explore other roles.
Image Credit: Movie DB.