Reviewed by: Alexander Malsan
Love and loyalty
Extreme nudity and vulgarity in films
Hollywood’s repeatedly negative view of American suburban life
Blake Lively … Emily Nelson
Anna Kendrick … Stephanie Smothers—a widowed single mother who runs a mom vlog
Henry Golding … Sean Townsend-Nelson—Emily’s husband
Linda Cardellini … Diana Hyland
Rupert Friend … Dennis Nylon
Jean Smart … Mrs. McLanden
Eric Johnson … Davis
Kelly McCormack … Stacy
Andrew Rannells … Darren
Sarah Baker … Maryanne Chelkowsky
Gia Sandhu … Valerie
Joshua Satine … Miles—Emily’s son
Dustin Milligan … Chris—Stephanie’s half-brother
Bashir Salahuddin … Detective Summervile
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|Director||Paul Feig—“Ghostbusters” (2016), “Spy” (2015), “The Heat” (2013)|
BRON Studios (BRON Creative)
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Stephanie (Anna Kendrick) is what some would call an over-achiever, especially when it comes to being a single mom. I mean she is involved with everything and anything that involves her son, Nicky: school fundraisers, PTO meetings, you name it! When she’s not busy with matters involving her son, she’s busy vlogging (video-blogging) different recipes to her many mom Internet friends.
Sure, Stephanie has many “Internet friends” but when it comes to actual “friends,” that’s a bit tough, that is until she meets Emily Nelson (Blake Lively), the mother of Nicky’s friend Miles. Emily, as Stephanie comes to learn, has it all: money, a huge house, luxurious cars and, as it turns out, a mysterious occupation that Stephanie is not allowed to not to know about it. That’s not too strange right? As Emily and Stephanie hang out more, though, Stephanie notices Emily acting more and more peculiar (I mean come on, how many people don’t like their picture taken right?).
One day, though, Emily asks Stephanie for a favor: pick up Miles from school for her. 8:00 PM comes. Emily hasn’t picked up Miles from Stephanie’s home. 9:00 PM comes. Still nothing. A day passes. Now Stephanie begins to become concerned. By the time two days pass, Stephanie panics and calls Emily’s husband, Sean. The two are convinced something terrible has happened to Emily.
Stephanie feels it’s her duty as Emily’s friend to help in any way that she can. The deeper she digs, though, the more intriguing Emily’s life becomes. “A Simple Favor” begs the question: “How well do we know the people closest to us?”
“A Simple Favor” may be complex in a lot of ways, but I’m going to make my points very short and, well, “simple” (pun intended). While there are some phenomenal performances from both Blake Lively and Anna Kendrick who, honestly, I haven’t always been a big fan of, and the story itself is engaging, the content left a bitter taste in my mouth, as the film contains language and images (including pornographic-level nudity) that have forever left a stain on my soul, heart and mind (more on this in the Content of Concern section). To put it bluntly, this movie has redefined the term “disturbing” content.
*** Please be aware that this section contains profanity, vulgarity and graphic sexual descriptions. Reader discretion is advised. ***
Sexual Content/Dialog/Nudity: Where to begin? Like I said (and I’m not going to go through everything), there is a scene involving full frontal nudity: it is a painting of Emily, supposedly, laying on her back with her breasts and genitalia (covered by hair) showing. There are topless photographs and a few scenes where characters are having sex. There is a lesbian kiss as well as other references to homosexuality and lesbianism. Stephanie reveals she had sex with her half-brother. Emily slaps Stephanie on her behind. Emily and Stephanie are seen in their bra and panties a couple times, as well as other revealing outfits. Emily and her husband, in her flashback, join the “Mile High Club” during a flight. Stephanie finds items related to S&M. Again, I’m not going into all the sexual content in this movie, but there’s A LOT more.
Profanity/Vulgarity: Extreme. Here’s the count: f-bomb (60+), mother-f**ker (3), brother-f**ker (8), Jesus-f***ing-Christ (2), OMG (10), God (5), Jesus (1), g*d-d*mn (2), d**n (1), h*ll (1), sh*t (15), a** (4), a**hole (1). Other vulgarity includes “prude,” “d*ke,” “d*ck,” . Other vulgarity includes: “balls deep in my friend,” “sn*tch,” “sexual maverick,” “s*cks,” and a crystal methamphetamine reference. Emily asks if Stephanie’s young son drinks alcohol. Emily recommends someone take pills. Stephanie is told to pop two of Emily’s Xanax. Stephanie talks to a statue of Jesus as she is at someone’s house to gather information on Emily.
Violence: Very Heavy. Viewers witness a dead corpse in the water—bloodied and lacerated all over). A character is drowned. We witness a character commit arson, killing other characters in their home. Characters are shot with a gun. A character is run over. Two young boys are seen fighting each other.
There are ABSOLUTELY no redeeming morals to this film.
Twenty-four hours after having viewed the film, the filth of “A Simple Favor” still lingers in my mind. I thought I could handle it. I thought, “My faith is strong enough. What’s a little nudity? What’s a little language? It wasn’t a little… It was A LOT. Even I have my limits as a reviewer and today, especially with regards to the sexual content (and yes, the language), my limit, as would any Christian’s I might presume, was reached. In case I haven’t been clear, this is NOT recommended to Christians, teens, adults or children. Listen to my advice and stay very far away from this film. And remember this verse, which never rang truer than right now:
“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” —Philippians 4:8
See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.