It’s mom vs. mom in the deliciously twisted love triangle thriller “A Simple Favor” starring Anna Kendrick (Pitch Perfect, Trolls), Blake Lively (Gossip Girl, The Shallows) and Henry Golding (Crazy Rich Asians). The movie puts Kendrick’s character, Stephanie at the center of a gritty showdown of wits as she tries to solve the suspicious disappearance of Emily (Lively).
At the core of “A Simple Favor” is an unlikely film noir protagonist—the sunny and practical suburban mommy vlogger, Stephanie (Kendrick). Stephanie’s perky search for domestic bliss, friendship and killer recipes accidentally leads her into a mad tangle of dirty secrets and fatal lies when she meets ultra-glamorous mom, Emily. When Stephanie is first approached by Emily to come over for a playdate, she is intrigued. Emily is mysterious and alluring with her super-posh lifestyle: a city job in high fashion, a sexy British author husband and an impeccably modern, showcase house. Stephanie is flattered when Emily seems to quickly latch onto her as a confidante and new best friend. She appears to be the ultimate insider, and Stephanie feels like she has cracked into a world of her most extravagant mommy dreams.
When Emily askes for a simple favor, Stephanie eagerly agreed to take Emily’s son, Nicky, home with her after school one day. However, simple becomes complicated when Emily disappears completely, leaving Stephanie with her son and not a single clue. Following her own “moms, do everything yourself” credo, Stephanie takes it upon herself, with the help of her social media followers, to find her missing friend. She has no idea just how convoluted this mystery will become as boundaries of friendship and loyalty are tested and lurid truths are unburied. Stephanie unknowingly enters an inky-black, nerve-wracking journey into deception, duplicity and transgressions, including her own.
Anna Kendrick is already known for her unique range. Even so, the role of Stephanie was something completely different for her. Stephanie might share some qualities with Kendrick, such as her exuberance and her everywoman amiability, but there is much more to the performance as Kendrick brings all at once a flair for mischievous humor, emotional complexity and an unleashed fierceness.
For Kendrick, the pleasure of playing Stephanie was digging into all that is going on beneath her happy-go-lucky, public social media persona. Kendrick notes that much as she plays at being a detective once Emily vanishes, she’s also just a lonely, anxious single mom with a past she desperately wants to keep locked away. “Stephanie is upbeat and always seeing the bright side, so she can be a little insufferable,” Kendrick laughs. “But I think there’s also a real sadness to her because really, she’s so lonely. When it comes to her relationship with Emily, she’s willing to put up with a lot of abuse because it’s preferable to her loneliness. And Stephanie also wants validation from Emily. I think that’s something a lot of women experience to some degree in some friendships.”
“A Simple Favor” will open in cinemas on September 12 from Pioneer Films.