“Secrets are like margarine, easy to spread, bad for the heart.”
Paul Feig and Jessica Sharzer’s vivacious adaptation of Darcey Bell’s 2017 addictive novel, A Simple Favour, brings together the famous faces of Anna Kendrick (Pitch Perfect), Blake Lively (The Age of Adelaide) and Crazy Rich Asians breakout Henry Golding to produce a two punch thriller with so many ludicrous twists and turns that you’ll be in need of a martini or two after seeing it.
Not much can be said about A Simple Favour without spoiling the convoluted and enigmatic plot, but I can say this, you will be doing yourself a favour by seeing this. Dark comedy wrapped in a Hitchcockian story, laced with slightly off-kilter style, this film provides one of the most all-round enthralling experiences from the cinema in a long time.
We join Stephanie (Kendrick), the slightly unstable, ‘mom-vlogger,’ as she befriends her polar-opposite, Emily (Lively). When Emily mysteriously disappears one day, Stephanie embarks on a quest to discover what really happened to her. Stephenie battles unhelpful police and town gossips in her quest, but it’s Kendrick’s uncomfortable detective swagger that brings Stephanie to life, as she travels far and wide for her best friend. Yet, it is Lively who is steals the show, since she finally has the opportunity to shine as Emily. Her performance bares complex depth and sheer madness, glamorously bringing Emily’s insanity to fruition.
The characters themselves pose as the biggest enigmas throughout the story. As the story progresses and each character is thrust into another surreal situations, another layer from these complex characters are peeled back until we’re greeted with the cold dark truth of the human condition.
A Simple Favour is a pleasant shock from Feig’s previous work, yet one can’t help but wonder if the sinister nature of this film is inspired by the backlash to his previous 2016 remake of Ghostbusters. Nonetheless, Feig crafts an instant classic: the film is visceral and violent, a true reflection of the darkness in humanity. Yet, the comedy of the film is undeniably Feig, situational comedy, awkward actions and downright ridiculous moments. The dark and the light, the comedy and tragedy, work in tandem to create a thriller that is rooted in reality. He even effortless brings his own chic style to the design (in one instance Lively’s Emily is seen wielding a walking stick much like the director himself does).
A Simple Favour is dark, and twisted, and, I’m not afraid to petition it, but the best film of the year.