Directed By: Paul Fieg
Starring: Anna Kendrick, Blake Lively, Henry Golding, Linda Cardellini, Ian Ho, Joshua Satine, Andrew Rannells, Kelly McCormack, Aparna Nancherla, et.al.
When over achieving mommy-vlogger Stephanie meets sleek, effortless Emily, the last thing she expects is a fast friendship filled with martini lunches and near-daily play dates between their two sons. However, when Emily goes missing after asking Stephanie to watch her son, Stephanie takes it upon herself to not only investigate the disappearance, but make sure Emily’s family is well cared for. As the plot behind Emily’s disappearance thickens, Stephanie finds herself in a twisted web of secrets and lies as she attempts to unravel the mystery she has found herself inextricably entangled in.
So far as recent crime thrillers go, this one mostly holds its own weight. While director Paul Fieg is mostly known for his comedies, he manages to create an almost noir-ish atmosphere with the movie. The plot is mostly solid, and the actors all work well together. Kendrick and Lively slip into their roles well, and Golding has decent chemistry with both. The actors playing the children handle their roles well, too, especially considering that the content can get heavy at times. The contrast between the brightly-lit suburban setting and the dark nature of the story is an interesting narrative device and makes already uncomfortable subjects just a bit more so.
Nearly all of the effects are background filler, and are not noticeable.
Anyone looking for a decent mystery thriller should like this. While parts of it lean toward predictability, it mostly manages to stay a step ahead of the viewer, and the ending is clever. As with all R-rated titles, parents may want to watch the movie before allowing young kids to see it. Anyone wanting to watch the movie again should be able to do so without getting bored.
A Simple Favor currently is not free to stream, but can be rented through Redbox or Netflix home delivery, or purchased at any participating store or on-line retailer.