Trying to fall in love with film again.

Think of 'A Simple Favor' as Gone Girl Lite

lunaprint A Simple Favor Movie Poster 70 X 45 cm: Amazon.co.uk ...Story 

Stephanie Smothers (Anna Kendrick) lives in a small town Connecticut with her son Miles and her parenting vlog. She befriends Emily (Blake Lively), a gorgeous but aloof woman whose son Nicky is in Miles' class. After asking for a simple favour, Emily goes missing and Stephanie takes it upon herself to investigate.

This is one of those movies that doesn't reveal much in the trailer and you're all the better for it. Going in with no prior expectations leaves you room to immerse yourself in the story and it's not hard to do that. The story is very witty with genuine surprises that left me thoroughly entertained.

Acting

Anna Kendrick and Blake Lively shine in this movie.
This role couldn't be further from the Blake Lively that we see in interviews and on social media. Emily is reminiscent of Serena van der Woodsen from Gossip Girl in the sense that both women are well dressed and put together on the surface but are more than they seem. Emily is a character with layers and this is going to sound very odd, but the more you find out about her the more endearing she becomes. The best word to describe her is magnetic.

Anna Kendrick's performance is what ties the whole movie together. Stephanie is sweet, determined and she may or may not have a few secrets of her own, which leads to a well-balanced character. Her performance is so different to Blake Lively's but they play off each other very well. Even though their characters are very different they both have a kinship that is believable and in some cases relateable.

Henry Golding plays Emily's husband Sean Towsend and he has incredible chemistry with Blake Lively and Anna Kendrick. When all three actors are in a scene together, they play off each other very well.

Even though they don't get a lot of screen time, the side characters elevate the movie and give really good performances. Especially Andrew Moodie who is the best side character in the whole film.

Writing/Direction

This movie was directed by Paul Feig who usually directs comedies, some of them being Bridesmaids, Spy, and Ghostbusters. That is to say that I did not expect this type of movie from him. He veered from his usual style and it paid off. There are still shades of comedy throughout this film which make it entertaining.

The best word to describe the direction in this movie is sleek. The lack of moving parts and the cool colour palette makes it easy to focus on the characters rather than what is going on around them. This movie also has great pacing, at no point did I feel bored or inclined to check how much runtime was left. Having bad pacing in the movie like this leads to disinterest.

The writing is also concise and I found out that one of the writers Jessica Sharzer is also a writer on the show American Horror Story which explains the sense of dread that some of the scenes have. The writing stays focused on our main characters throughout and never lets us lose sight of what we should be focusing on.

The characters in this movie never feel like real people, you can tell that they aren't meant to. You're not supposed to relate to them even though they're extremely likeable and charismatic

Set/Costume Design

Each of the character's surroundings and wardrobe reflects who they are. Emily's house is gorgeous but is empty and cold while Stephanie's home, on the other hand, is warm and inviting which provides an easy way to show who these women are without telling the audience anything about them.

I also have to mention that Emily's costume design in this movie is gorgeous. Blake Lively looks stunning every time she's on screen. Even though there is no mention of it in the movie, the suits add a layer of mystery to Emily. She stands out when you compare her to everyone else she's in a scene with. They make you want to look at her and figure her out 

Score/Soundtrack

The score is as polished as this movie looks. Theodore Shapiro did a good job of adding a more atmospheric score that doesn't stand out. Usually, I prefer when I can hear the score but the absence of a score in some scenes lends itself to the intensity of some scenes. Even when I noticed the songs that were playing, they weren't distracting and fit the scenes very well.

Overall Thoughts

Before I saw this movie I heard a lot of Gone Girl comparisons and the two movies are very similar. They both have a brilliant and charismatic woman who goes missing and the people around her start investigating and uncover her secrets. This movie, however, is less of a thrilling and leans more towards comedy than Gone Girl.

A review for the book that this movie is based on called it "Gone Girl on steroids" and that's a good way to describe this movie. Due to the highly stylised nature of the film, it feels less realistic than other films with similar subject matter (i.e. Gone Girl and Girl on the Train) and that's not a bad thing. Even though there were many moments that made me go "Huh?" and look at my friends who were sitting on either side of me, I enjoyed it a lot.

Sidenote: If anyone from Lionsgate or Paul Feig is reading this, can I have all of Blake Lively's suits and shoes? Thanks

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