Blake Lively and Anna Kendrick's most underrated movie is now on Netflix

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In case you hadn't heard the wonderful news, one of the best movies of all time is now streaming on Netflix. A Simple Favor starring Anna Kendrick and Blake Lively was released on the streaming service on Sunday, May 19, and it's one of the best new releases to watch on the streamer this weekend.

There's a decent chance you missed A Simple Favor when the crime comedy-thriler was first released in theaters in September 2018. In spite of starring two huge stars in Kendrick and Lively, the film directed by Bridesmaids director Paul Feig stopped short of $100 million at the worldwide box office. On a $20 million budget, that's a hit, but it wasn't huge.

But it should have been. I believe A Simple Favor deserved so much more. It instantly became one of my favorite movies. Seriously, it should be in the Criterion Collection. The stunning mixture of camp and humor and sexuality and mystery excels under the pristine direction of Feig and in the hands of Kendrick's confident lead and a career-best performance by Lively. What more could you ask for?

Based on the novel of the same name by Darcey Bell, A Simple Favor stars Academy Award nominee Anna Kendrick as Stephanie, a widowed single mother who runs an online mom vlog channel and produces videos aimed at parents. When she befriends a mysterious fellow mom named Emily, played by Blake Lively, her world turns upside down. Emily goes missing, and Stephanie takes it upon herself to look into her friend's disappearance.

But she never would have imagined she would stumble on a decades-old buried secret of a family torn apart by a tragic turn of events. If you've seen a lot of thrillers, then maybe you will see the movie's twists coming, but the second and third acts are truly some of the most surprising and unexpected I have ever seen in the genre.

When the movie was released six years ago to less than blockbuster numbers, it still managed to earn positive reviews from critics, holding an 84% score on Rotten Tomatoes. Critics praised the "mommy noir" for its fun tone and twisty narrative, in particular highlighting the performances of the A-list co-leads. Still, for a fan like me, all hope for the movie to be remembered felt lost. I would have to wait a decade or more for it to become a cult classic.

However, in May 2022, Lionsgate announced that a sequel had been ordered with Feig, Kendrick, and Lively all returning. Great news! Even when sequels are announced, they can be trapped in development hell (see: Legally Blonde 3), but the sequel entered production in April 2024 in Italy with new cast members Michele Morrone and Allison Janney. It's going to be on Amazon Prime Video, and it's going to be good. Relive the original on Netflix right now while you can.

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