To decompress from the news, I persuaded Mr. Sax to see a movie. Before I go any further, this might be a good time to say it’s always been a struggle to get Mr. Sax to leave the house to see a movie. He prefers to do his watching in a recumbent position. When we were dating, some 30 years ago, he warned me his favorite films are ones he falls asleep to. Meanwhile I can count on two hands and maybe one foot exactly how many movies we’ve seen together in an actual movie theatre.
The movie I dragged him to last weekend was “A Simple Favor” starring Anna Kendrick, Henry Golding, Rupert Friend, Andrew Rannells, and Blake Lively. “A Simple Favor” could be described as upscale suburban thriller. The story is a beautiful married mom (Lively) who asks her best friend (Kendrick) a simple favor, to pick up Lively’s young son from school. The trouble starts when Lively fails to collect her child, or respond to Kendrick’s texts or voicemails.
Blake Lively grew up in Tarzana, California, in the San Fernando Valley. Her father is an actor. She’s a natural blonde who looks like she should always be close to a surfboard. I first noticed her in 2007 when she was cast as the character Serena van der Woodsen in the television series, “Gossip Girl.” You may recall her performances in “Savages,” or “The Green Lantern.” In real life, she’s married to the actor Ryan Reynolds. They have two children. Eschewing the L.A. film biz lifestyle, they moved to my old stomping grounds about an hour north of New York City. Despite their bona fide celebrity status, locals do their best to treat them as though they’re just another adorable young family.
Blake Lively is fun to watch. It’s easy to imagine her wearing a baseball cap backwards at Pee Wee soccer. “A Simple Favor” reflects a wealthy and well dressed society where a woman with a dicey past and a need for money might plot to screw over a new friend, and also an insurance company. There’s a scene in the film where Lively’s character confesses to Kendrick’s that her enormous, stunning house is for sale, but no one’s buying. It also falls to her to keep the whole sham afloat since her husband, once a rising star novelist, hasn’t produced another book.
The character played by Lively portrays a woman once upon a time I’d have been drawn to. (I’m too old now for that level of drama.) Unlike Kendrick’s character, I’d never have been her doormat, but I might have been her drinking buddy. What mom of elementary school kids doesn’t crave a stiff afternoon martini before the hassle of providing dinner? A cute contemporary touch is Kendrick’s character producing her own blog to share tips with her mom friends how to pack a perfect school lunch — and play true detective.
I’m grateful to have not just one but two movie theaters in the area to help me escape reality.