A Simple Favor: The True Story Behind the Crime Thriller

Whether it’s the blood-curdling mysteries that leave many petrified or the danger that looms by menacingly, it is natural for people to be perturbed by the connotations attached to the words, ‘missing’ and ‘disappearance.’ Naturally, ‘A Simple Favor’ by Paul Feig is one such oeuvre that leaves viewers searching for answers. The 2018 crime thriller film follows the story of Stephanie, a mommy blogger, and Emily, a fashion public relations maestro. While the personality of the women is poles apart, the unlikely friendship that strikes between the two makes room for thrill, suspense, and mystery effortlessly.

Starring Blake Lively, Anna Kendrick, Henry Golding, Andrew Rannells, Linda Cardellini, Rupert Friend and Jean Smart, the movie centers around the missing case of Emily’s (Lively) disappearance. When Emily and Stephanie (Kendrick) meet at their children’s school, they give way to a friendship. Even with their different ways of life, it isn’t long till the two form a camaraderie and start hanging out more. One day, Emily asks Stephanie for “a simple favor,” asking Stephanie to watch her son as she needs to head out of town for work. When Emily doesn’t return from her work trip, chaos ensues. While the mystery and investigation are enough to keep viewers on the edge of their seats, the predictable premise keeps viewers questioning everything. From reading about such disappearances in the paper to hearing about missing women online, the plot seems a concoction based on reality, leaving many curious about its authenticity.

The Inspiration Behind A Simple Favor

No, ‘A Simple Favor’ is not based on a true story. The story was adapted from Darcey Bell’s 2017 novel of the same name. The movie has been in development since 2016, and director Paul Feig got on board after Jessica Sharzer penned the screenplay. Director Paul Feig went against the formulaic thrillers and instead worked in comedic quips throughout the movie that made ‘A Simple Favor’ a different movie, unlike most thrillers.

While the plot includes all the elements of a classic thriller, Director Paul Feig’s endeavor to add a Hitchcockian level of amusement still remains a prominent part of the storyline. The enigmatic friendship shared by Emily and Stephanie adds to the mystery as Stephanie continues to uncover the questionable past and secrets of her missing best friend. While the movie teeters the balance between a thriller and a comedy effortlessly, it is the behavioral persona of the two protagonists that keeps viewers on the hook.

As secrets about Emily’s dark past begin to unwind and Stephanie is left questioning the extent to which a person can go, viewers remain drawn to the twisted shackles of a maestro’s well-engineered plan. When a body resembling Emily’s signature tattoo and ring washes up in a nearby lake, her husband and Stephanie wonder what comes next. Exemplifying the elements of deceit and attacks seen commonly, the movie takes a twisted turn that resembles a mastermind at play.

As Stephanie inches toward discovering the truth, the unlikely relationship she forms with Emily’s husband, Sean, adds more drama to the mix. Upon finding out that Sean had recently taken out a $4 million life insurance on her name, Stephanie doesn’t just find herself warped in the secrets of her best friend’s life but also finds her own past mistakes coming to the fore. More drama is added to the mix when money, reappearances, secrets of infidelity, drugs, and abuse are brought to the fore.

While the dose of twists keeps on coming, the central theme that keeps countless engulfed is the possibility of the events being a reality. The monumental statistics that showcase the amount of abuse, cheating, and disappearances in real life are enough to leave viewers wondering whether the characters of Emily and Stephanie really did exist. From Emily’s enticing appeal and maven of alluring job and clothes to the comedic yet predictable persona of Stephanie, the relationship between the two women seems like any other.

Moreover, the natural friendship that emerges when they find each other at their children’s school also leaves viewers wondering whether or not their characters emerge from real-life occurrences. The consequent manipulation and relentless running and hiding from adversities also leave people questioning the mystery’s source. Even so, while their characters emanate life-like occurrences, ‘ A Simple Favor’ is truly a work of fiction and not based on a true story.

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