MAJOR spoilers for A Simple Favor ahead.
Paul Feig's latest, A Simple Favor, is a crime thriller that features plenty of twists and reveals as one woman investigates the disappearance of another - now we break down that ending. Anna Kendrick and Blake Lively star in the movie as single mom Stephanie Smothers and fellow mother Emily Nelson, respectively. The two become friends when their sons spend time together outside of school. However, when Emily mysteriously vanishes, Stephanie takes it on herself to investigate her friend's disappearance. Along the way, the secrets both women have kept hidden for years are revealed.
Adapted from the book of the same name by Darcey Bell, A Simple Favor is a crime thriller in the vein of Gillian Flynn's Gone Girl and Paula Hawkins' The Girl on the Train - both of which were adapted to film to varying success. Trailers for A Simple Favor teased another such twisty mystery, but with Feig behind the camera - who's known for his comedies Bridesmaids and Ghostbusters - viewers knew to expect plenty of humor, too. Now, we focus on the twists and reveals featured in A Simple Favor and break down everything that happens.
Related: Screen Rant's A Simple Favor Review
Starting off with Emily, she disappears after asking Stephanie to pick up her son from school, while her husband Sean (Henry Golding) is in London visiting his mother. After days of searching, Emily's body is seemingly found in a lake at a camp in Michigan. However, it's later revealed that the body doesn't belong to Emily, but Emily's twin. Emily and her sister grew up at their parents' home, but set fire to it when they were teenagers, killing their father and running away to avoid consequences. Their crime is why Emily doesn't like to have her picture taken, she's perpetually on the run from her childhood. The twins split up to avoid detection and when they were meant to reunite and start a new life together, Emily's twin didn't show. Instead, Emily started her own life, but Emily remains angry at her twin for leaving her.
Emily's disappearance is the result of her twin showing up out of the blue and asking Emily to meet at the camp they both attended as children - the one in Michigan. Emily's twin is a poor destitute drug addict who's preparing to turn herself in for the fire, taking Emily down with her. She pleads for money and Emily seemingly agrees, but it's a ploy because Emily can't let her twin destroy her new life - the life she built when her twin left her alone to fend for herself. The two go for a swim in the lake for old time's sake and Emily drowns her sister. Then, Emily makes the body look like hers (the two have matching tattoos they got after running away) and fakes her own death so that Sean can get the payout on the life insurance policy. Sean, meanwhile, had no idea about Emily's plan until she shows up later and tells him.
As for Stephanie, she's a single mother who was widowed when her husband and half-brother died in a tragic car accident, and she's only able to support herself through her husband's life insurance (Stephanie telling Emily about the life insurance is what inspires Emily's plot to help her own family get out of debt by faking her death). However, as Stephanie slowly reveals to Emily over the course of the movie, she slept with her brother Chris when they were younger and it's implied they continued sleeping together. Later, Stephanie reveals that her husband was always suspicious with her relationship with Chris, and accused their son Miles of actually being Chris's biological child. In a drunken rage, Stephanie's husband drives off the road with Chris in the passenger seat of his car, purposefully killing them both. When Emily asks Stephanie who she misses most, Stephanie is unable to choose, implying she loved Chris just as much if not more than her husband.
All these twists and reveals lead to the grand finale of A Simple Favor, in which Stephanie, Emily and Sean get together - with Stephanie aiming to get Emily to admit to what she's done while Emily wants to kill Stephanie for everything she's uncovered, as well as for sleeping with Sean when they thought Emily was dead. However, Emily killed the bugs the police placed in the home to record her confession. But in one final twist, Stephanie reveals she has a small camera on her shirt that streamed the entire interaction live to her vlog. As a result, the police have the confession and Emily goes to jail.
Altogether, A Simple Favor features a lot of twists and reveals - some that are easier to see coming than others - and it makes for an exciting ride. Whether the movie is as good as others in the genre is up to the viewer, but A Simple Favor is certainly entertaining.
- A Simple Favor (2018) release date: Sep 14, 2018