‘A Simple Favor’ Ending Explained


The big picture

  • A Simple Favor is a dark comedy delight starring Anna Kendrick and Blake Lively.
  • The film uncovers dark secrets, past traumas and a suburban clash of epic proportions.
  • The ending is full of surprising discoveries, a twisted plot, and a sequel has already been greenlit.

Performing an act of kindness has never been riskier (or more fun) than in Paul FeigThe cautionary tale about doing a favor for someone you barely know. A simple favor, currently in the Top 10 on Netflix, is a dark comedy delight that pits two drastically different women against each other. Caught in a fight that, at first, appears to be over a boy, turns out to be much more. A simple favor, based on Darcey Bell's novel of the same name, with a screenplay by Feig i Jessica Sharzerhas powerful actresses Anna Kendrick i Blake Lively in the main roles. Kendrick's quirky widow Stephanie and Lively's confident working mom Emily immerse audiences in a housewife conspiracy filled with secrets, mystery and live drama that culminates in a confrontation of epic suburban proportions.

A simple favor

Publication date
August 29, 2018

Paul Feig

Anna Kendrick, Ian Ho, Joshua Satine, Glenda Braganza, Andy Rannells, Kelly McCormack

Execution time

Jessica Sharzer, Darcey Bell

Can you keep a secret?

What about “A Simple Favor”?

A simple favor it's about people who collide at a precise moment when past traumas come back to haunt them. After Stephanie and Emily bond over their children being classmates, a thread is pulled, first revealing Stephanie's affair with her half-brother (gasp!). She also feels responsible for her husband's mental instability which led to a car accident that killed both him and his half-brother. While the other moms at school look down on Stephanie for her geeky, curmudgeonly ways, Emily sees her for what she really is: another lost soul just like her. This also makes it open, confessing her frustration at having to adapt to suburban life and her husband Sean's (Henry Golding) lack of success and ambition, which has led to their financial problems.


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But even though Emily might see Stephanie as something of an equal, that doesn't mean she's going to pass up the chance to take advantage of her.. Asking, ahem, a simple favor, she asks Stephanie to pick up her son and babysit him for an afternoon while Sean is on a business trip. The afternoon turns into days, which become a missing persons report. The search for Emily occurs until the police confirm her death after she is found drowned in a lake. Grief brings Sean and Stephanie together, which evolves into a relationship that puts them in the spotlight of gossip and speculation. Another side effect is the way Emily's vlog channel rises to fame with both a morbid and compassionate audience.

Why did Emily fake her death in “A Simple Favor”?

Before learning of Emily's death, Stephanie goes to look around her office. Emily's favor initially was that she could go on a work trip to Miami, but the eventual discovery of her body in Michigan begins to tell a different story. After being found at a summer camp, the answer to why she was there opens a whole different Pandora's box. There is also the added mystery of having large amounts of alcohol and heroin in Emily's system. After looking some more, Stephanie discovers that Emily's real name is Hope. Along with his twin sister Faith, he attended this camp in his early years. The twins escaped the clutches of their abusive father by burning down his house and killing him. So they ran away and changed their names, leading separate lives for 14 years.

In the present day, Faith, now addicted to drugs, tries to blackmail Emily for a million dollars by threatening to go to the authorities about the fire. Emily meets her at camp and, seeing no other way out, he drowns her in the lake and it is Faith's body that is found. Emily put her own wedding ring on Faith's finger to make it look like she had died so her family could collect on her life insurance policy.. A delicate web (with unintentionally hilarious results) is carefully spun by Emily herself after she decides to start appearing to her son Nicky (Ian Ho). He then starts texting Stephanie, to the point of calling her. This prompts Stephanie to learn even more about the truth about Emily and her past. While Stephanie's curiosity can be interpreted as an obsession with Emily, it leans more towards a mixture of admiration for her, guilt at taking over her life, and ambition to win he knows the confidence he has always lacked. What Emily doesn't see coming is that Stephanie is willing to challenge her and play the game by her rules.

“A Simple Favor” has a shocking and twisted ending

Anna Kendrick as Stephanie and Blake Lively as Emily drinking a martini in a scene from A Simple Favor
Image via Lionsgate

Further complicating the situation, an insurance policy had just been issued to Emily prior to her (finishified) death. This puts Sean in the crosshairs with both the insurance company and the police. Emily apparently recruits Stephanie to frame Sean. In an argument that ends with Stephanie shooting Sean, Emily sees through them and the fake shooting, telling them that she knows they colluded with the police and that she already got rid of the hidden microphones. Emily continues to deliver a wicked monologue, confessing to her sister's murder and detailing how she's going to kill them both and make it look like a passionate murder-suicide.

But A simple favor not only is it an engaging mystery, it's also a film about the student outsmarting the master. Stephanie now admits to staging the whole scene. She was ready for Emily to destroy the police microphones, so she live-streamed the whole thing via her vlog. Emily, seeing her impending doom, tries to escape and, in a scene reminiscent of bad girlswhere the queen bee is dethroned by the newcomer literally on a bus – is run over by Stephanie's friend Darren (Andrew Rannells). The film closes with Sean breaking out of his rut ​​and finally launching another novel. Emily ends up in prison, where she adapts quite well to competitive basketball games. Stephanie, in turn, continues her already famous vlog, which has been acquired by Condé Nast to develop it as a morning show. His side job? Have his followers bring him cold cases, with 30 of them solved.

“A simple favor” has a sequel?

Anna Kendrick as Stephanie uncovering secrets in A Simple Favor
Image via Lionsgate

Feig's comedy is a wild ride. Two fully developed characters with defining traumas and ambitions dominate the story, so you may find yourself rooting for one and then the other from scene to scene. Kendrick and Lively execute this suburban adventure masterfully and it leaves you wanting more. Prayers have been heard, as a sequel has already been given the green light, through a partnership between Amazon MGM Studios and Lionsgate. The star A simple favor 2 will see most of the original cast return, while also being added Allison Janney, Elizabeth Perkinsi Alex Newell, among others. Details have not been scarce, as the premise already indicates that the story will take place in Italy, with the new mystery revolving around a murder at a wedding. How does everyone fit into this new story? We'll just have to wait and see.

A simple favor streaming on Netflix in the US

Watch on Netflix


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