A Simple Favor Parent Guide
Despite its clever plotting and skilled acting, A Simple Favor has no positive messages to compensate for its high levels of profanity and extensive sexual content.
Parent Movie Review
A Simple Favor follows stay-at-home mom and all-around overachiever Stephanie Smothers, played with a light touch by Anna Kendrick, as she befriends glamorous Emily Nelson (Blake Lively). When Emily disappears, Stephanie’s subsequent investigation forces her to confront her own secrets as she uncovers Emily’s. In the process, Stephanie learns more about how she can manipulate others to serve her own interests. Seemingly caught in the middle is Emily’s husband Sean (Henry Golding), who finds himself torn between the memory of Emily and the warm presence of Stephanie as the latter helps him and his son through his wife’s absence.
The film is pitched as a more charming alternative to grittier crime thrillers like 2014’s Gone Girl. With its cute wardrobes, lilting French music, and well-lit, fashionable sets, the film balances the intense emotion of the plot with a stereotypical stay-at-home, Pinterest-browsing, high-achieving mom ambience. Don’t be fooled by this happy suburban façade: A Simple Favor plumbs the depths of human behavior. It just does so in a pastel palette. Imagine Bad Moms cranked up to eleven, and with more realistic consequences for behavior.
The characters in the movie are intense and well-developed, and played exceptionally well by the entire cast. The film delights in exposing their shifting motivations and desires and in giving viewers just enough information to follow the twists and turns. Stephanie, in particular, is a fascinating character. Although she is not quite the stereotypical “good girl gone bad”, her character arc leads her to increasingly extreme behavior. Her evolution amidst the unwinding of the plot is a highlight not only of the picture, but of Anna Kendrick’s career.
Despite its clever plotting and skilled acting, A Simple Favor has no positive messages to compensate for its high levels of profanity and extensive sexual content. Profanity is ubiquitous in this film, with almost one curse word per minute. Even worse, extreme profanity is used by a child character. Sexual content is also inappropriate: the movie contains some graphic sexual conversations and a particularly reprehensible scene involving a sexual relationship between half-siblings. Its Restricted rating is appropriate and this film is definitely not suited to family viewing. Parents who object to the content issues described here will find themselves squirming miserably by the thirty-minute mark. If that applies to you, do yourself an even simpler favor, and give this movie a miss.Directed by Paul Feig. Starring Linda Cardellini, Blake Lively, Anna Kendrick. Running time: 117 minutes. Theatrical release September 14, 2018. Updated December 19, 2018
Watch the trailer for A Simple Favor
A Simple Favor
Rating & Content Info
Why is A Simple Favor rated R? A Simple Favor is rated R by the MPAA For sexual content and language throughout, some graphic nude images, drug use and violence
Violence: Little graphic violence. A dead body is shown, partially decayed after being submerged in a lake. A woman is shown struggling as she is drowned by another character. A man is shot in the shoulder, non-fatally.
Sexual Content: Extensive sexual content throughout. A fully nude painting is prominently displayed multiple times. There is a conversation about group sex. A woman admits to having sex with her half-brother and is shown doing so (although both parties remain at least partially clothed throughout). Two characters have sex in an airplane restroom. A phallic sex toy is briefly shown in a drawer and is played for comedy. A female character undresses to go skinny dipping, but is only shown from the rear.
Profanity: Approximately 100 uses of coarse or sexual language throughout, as well as all other categories of profanity. The movie features multiple sexual expletives, scatological slang, cursing, vulgar expressions and crude language. A small child uses one instance of extreme profanity.
Alcohol / Drug Use: Adult characters are shown drinking socially. Some adults are shown using marijuana, although one of them claims to have a prescription for it.
Page last updated December 19, 2018
A Simple Favor Parents' Guide
This is definitely not a good choice for a family film! But if you want to discuss it with other adult friends, here are some options: Is it possible to truly know your friends? Which secrets are harmful or dangerous, and what is just basic privacy? If your friend committed a crime, how would you react? Would you support them and help them get away with it, or would you turn them in? How much would the personal circumstances of the crime weigh in your decision?