Suburban noir has become a big draw for book and film lovers alike. Ever since Amy Dunne declared “I’m so much happier now that I’m dead,” few have tried and failed to recreate Gone Girl’s genius. Comedy god Paul Feig’s newest film is irresistible, but misses some steps on its way up to Gone Girl-level brilliance.
A Simple Favor follows the dark relationship between mom opposites Stephanie (Anna Kendrick) and Emily (Blake Lively). Stephanie, the single mommy vlogger, is quickly seduced by Emily’s rich lifestyle – in all her martini drinking, ’30s Marlene Dietrich glamour. When Emily disappears, Stephanie attempts to get to the bottom of what happened to her best friend – and whether Emily’s husband Sean (Henry Golding) had anything to do with it.
At a superficial, base-level understanding of Crazy Rich Asians, the film might come across as nothing new. It’s a modern take on Pride and Prejudice,a quirky romantic comedy about a man and a woman from two different worlds coming together – but where the magic resides is in its vast love and dedication to the celebration of contemporary Asian culture, and the tremendous amount of care from the cast and crew of this film to make it as much of a classic Hollywood spectacle as possible. There is so much glitz, glamour, Chinese covers of Coldplay and genuine pride radiating off of this flick that its fantastical charm is absolutely irresistible. In the age of whitewashing and orientalism in Hollywood (COUGH Doctor Strange COUGH Ghost in the Shell COUGH), finally getting a mainstream film to represent my culture behind and in front of the camera feels revolutionary in itself.
Based off of Kevin Kwan’s bestselling novels, Crazy Rich Asians follows Rachel Chu, a professor who unknowingly happens to be dating Nick Young – who comes from one of the richest families in all of Singapore. They go on a summer trip together to a family friend’s wedding, and antics ensue as word of mouth quickly spreads about their relationship through an impressive text and social media sequence. Torn between her American roots and trying her best to impress Nick’s cold and disapproving mother, Rachel learns the value of her own modern values and self-worth.