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Film Review: A Simple Favour (2018)

A Simple Favour (2018) is a drama thriller that takes a twist on the typical crime films. Directed by Paul Feig (whose works include the remake of Ghostbusters (2016) and Bridesmaids (2011), he follows his previous films that are female centric, casting Anna Kendrick and Blake Lively in the lead roles. This story focuses on Stephanie (Kendrick), a mother and vlogger who reports on the disappearance of her friend Emily (Lively), and the story is told through a mix of the vlogs and in person, watching the intricate details of the mysterious case unfold.
To begin, the advertising campaign for this film was gorgeous. I am in love with the poster for this film, as it looks so sophisticated and really gives nothing away about the plot of the movie. All I knew about the film going in was that it was about a crime. I am not usually a fan of crime thrillers, yet this intrigued me due to being so different to the others. I am also a huge fan of Blake Lively in particular, having watched her in Gossip Girl as well as her incredible performance in The Shallows (2016).

A Simple Favour (2018) - Film For Thought
A Simple Favour (2018) – source: Lionsgate

Both of the lead actresses were cast perfectly for their respective roles. Anna Kendrick is known for being a bit quirky and different, and this sort of character works perfectly for her. This films shows Stephanie in a good light, as she is sweet, caring and dedicated. You really do feel for her character throughout the story and want her to reach some sort of happiness. Yet we have a contrast with Lively’s character. Lively has to play a completely different character, someone who is so secretive, dark and twisted in the head. Yet, she does it fantastically. Lively brings so much energy and drama to this film, and she is truly the star despite having less screen time.

I also love the twist and turns that this film takes. This is a different way of presenting a disappearance, and almost compares itself to the likes of Gone Girl (2014). Feig knows how to create solid female protagonists, and there is a reason that he is still successful in this area of Hollywood. I do prefer this story of work to the likes of Ghostbusters (2016), as this feels fresh and original. Despite the female narrative, it also doesn’t seem to be forced. It is not a push for female remakes, it is a story between two friends that happen to be female, and it works beautifully.

A lot of films recently have struggled with pacing, and yet this one had it perfect. It never seemed to drag on, and it wasn’t too short or too long. There was not a moment when I was getting bored or confused by the action on screen, and this is a sign of a good director. All of the clues and important moments are placed, yet there seemed to be little that wasn’t relevant.

A Simple Favour (2018) - Film For Thought
A Simple Favour (2018) – source: Lionsgate
Now this is by no means a perfect movie. There are still moments that I found to be weird or out of character. I found the relationship between Stephanie and Sean (Henry Golding) to be way too fast and uncomfortable to watch, knowing what would happen later on in the film. I also felt the narrative to be a little bit too dramatised. I know this is probably the direction they were going for, but it all seemed a little too over-the-top and unrealistic, which took me out of the movie a little too much.
I was also not a fan of the vlogging aspect of the film. It only set as a plot point for the finale of the film, and yet it didn’t seem like an accurate depiction of what would actually happen. Throughout the film, Stephanie would reveal secrets and vital information about an ongoing investigation to the camera, something that I really think wouldn’t be allowed in real life. It serves as a narrative point, but I would have probably liked the film even more if it wasn’t in the film. It felt cheesy, and almost forced to show current day trends.
A Simple Favour (2018) - Film For Thought
A Simple Favour (2018) – source: Lionsgate
Despite a clear female demographic for this film, judging by the advertisement campaigns and the cast of this film, this is a film I feel that men would like as well. The cinema screening I went to had a variety of age and gender coming to see the film, and I think this film has something for everyone to enjoy, whether you prefer action, drama or thrillers.

This is by no means a perfect film, but I thoroughly enjoyed it whilst I was watching it. Does it have narrative problems? Yes. Are the characters completely likeable all of the time? No. Either way though, this is a fun twist on an overdone genre and I would recommend checking it out if you can.


Have you seen A Simple Favour yet? What do you think of it? Are you interested in seeing the film if you haven’t yet? Comment below and I will make sure to check them out.

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