Friday, September 28, 2018

A Glass Of Wine At The Movies - A Simple Favor

A Simple Favor

Rating: 14A (Canada) / R (USA)

Director: Paul Feig

Language: English

Length:  117 minutes

Cast: Anna Kendrick, Blake Lively, Henry Golding

Viewing Method: Regular Screening

Release Date: September 14, 2018

Synopsis: A SIMPLE FAVOR, directed by Paul Feig, centers around Stephanie (Anna Kendrick), a mommy vlogger who seeks to uncover the truth behind her best friend Emily's (Blake Lively) sudden disappearance from their small town. Stephanie is joined by Emily's husband Sean (Henry Golding) in this stylish thriller filled with twists and betrayals, secrets and revelations, love and loyalty, murder and revenge.


I've seen A Simple Favor be described as Heathers meets Gone Girl. That description is pretty apt. It's got the dark comedy that Heathers is known for in spades and while it may not pull off its twists as well as Gone Girl did it definitely has a similar vibe. It's a dark comedy that revolves around a juicy mystery and it is a movie that excels at being both.

Blake Lively's Emily easily joins Amy Elliot Dunne on my favourite female characters list. She is mesmerizing, captivating, and it is almost impossible to leave this movie not a little bit in love with her. She steals your attention every single time she enters the frame. Blake Lively manages to put some nuance into a character that could have easily been one note, and adds some restraint to a character that could have been a caricature. I feel it is a career best for Lively who will surely be entering into an awards caliber career within the next few years. I felt this was easily a step in that direction and that in a less crowded year she could have been in supporting actress talks.

Anna Kendrick also delivers one of her best performances. The socially awkward mommy blogger who finds herself in the whirlwind life of Emily is one that needed a little more sparkle and Anna Kendrick delivers. She makes a character that could easily be overshadowed by the louder presence of Lively's character feel more memorable. She manages to capture a perfect balance between the character's sweetness and her more annoying qualities. There is a darkness to Stephanie that may not be as overt as Emily's and Kendrick shows us that as well. It's the type of performance that is subtle when it needs to be and more dialed up when called for and she nails both.

Henry Golding, the internet's newest boyfriend, once again proves he should be playing the role of sexy love interest in a lot more movies. He plays Sean with just enough of an edge to make you unsure if you should trust him while still being impossibly charming. I am eager to see his career continue to grow and what else he is capable of.

The costuming is another stand out. Each of the women have a to die for wardrobe that will ignite clothes envy. The design of everything from the costuming, sets, and colour schemes work to create the vibe that this movie is going for. It worked for me because, like almost everything else in the movie, it walks that balance of being too much and just enough.

The relationship that exists between Emily and Stephanie is the focal point of the entire movie. Their friendship, and how it drives Stephanie in particular, is what moves the plot forward. The chemistry between Anna Kendrick and Blake Lively is a large part of why this movie works. Both women are at their best here and the way they bounce off each other is perfect for the characters they are playing.

The ending of any thriller is typically what makes or breaks it for me. This ending worked for me because it fit the tone of the rest of the movie. It had just enough darkness and just enough comedy to work for me. It's one that is also impossible to predict because of how elaborate it becomes. This movie doesn't just deliver a twist. It throws everything it can at you. At times, at least for me, it borders on the ridiculous but the tone of the movie make it work in a satisfying way. They set up the ending to work because of the way the rest of the story is told.

Those looking for a fun, soapy time at the movies will leave this one entirely happy with how they spent their time. It's an enjoyable thriller that packs in plenty of dark laughs along the way and is a showcase for two brilliant actresses who both get to impress with what they can do. I highly recommend grabbing your friends and going to see this movie (and maybe some martinis after). 

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