“Power,” a review of “A Simple Favor” by Nathan H. Box
Recommendation: 3/5 Stars, STREAM
Director: Paul Feig, Writers: Jessica Sharzer, Darcey Bell, Starring: Anna Kendrick, Blake Lively, Henry Golding
Plot: “A woman seeks to uncover the truth behind the disappearance of her best friend.” -IMDB
Review: The beginning of every movie is awkward. In those first 5-10 minutes, characters, location, and the plot are established. Some films are better than others at recovering and/or making the most of these moments. “A Simple Favor’s” opening awkwardness tends to linger longer than most movies. It takes 30-45 minutes for this film to find its stride, but when it does the intrigue is kicked into high gear.
“A Simple Favor" focuses on two moms cut from different cloths. Anna Kendrick plays Stephanie Smothers, a widow, overly involved, mommy-blogger whose whole life is focused on her child. Blake Lively plays Emily Nelson, a complicated, driven, career-focused woman who happens to have a kid. These two moms couldn’t be more different, yet a budding friendship begins thanks to a play date with their two sons.
As the relationship begins to flourish, we learn more about Emily Nelson that serves as the basis for the turn in this film. Things get really interesting when Nelson’s husband is forced to go to London after his mother has an accident and Nelson finds herself swamped with work. Stephanie agrees to watch their son in their time of need, but then several days go by and no one seems to know where Emily is.
This is where the movie gets complicated, but not so complicated that it is impossible to follow. It is also at this point that this movie becomes impossible to write about without spoiling anything. I will say this, though. Things are not what they seem on the surface. With Emily’s disappearance, relationships and roles are reversed. The definition of love and grief come into question. In the dust of it all, we are left questioning who has the power.
By the end of the film, you will find yourself second-guessing every person in this suburban thriller. At times, “A Simple Favor” walks a thin line and almost collapses under the weight of its own lofty ideals. In order for a story such as this to work, there must be a lot of moving set pieces. It doesn’t always get those moves right, but scores enough to make this an enjoyable ride you should enjoy from the comfort of your own home.
Be good to each other,
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