Ok so I went with a neighbor to see this new thriller and….I cannot make heads or tails of it. Blake Lively stars as the aforementioned psycho who goes missing 20 minutes in. Anna Kendrick plays Stephanie Smothers (yes her name is indicative of her personality), the over-eager mommy blogger trying to find her. Both women have shady secrets and nothing is what it seems. Literally nothing, the whole plot is upended about seven times.
First off, the two stellar femme fatales. While Kendrick plays “pretending to be naive but secretly shady” with perfect pitch, the show is Lively’s through and through. Yes yes, literally every review says this, and that’s because it’s true. But the intriguing thing about Emily Nelson is her insidious abusive nature. She consistently manipulates her husband into abandoning his family and friends, treats her “best friend” like a convenient assistant, and leaves her son behind “for his own good”. This raises an important question: can an abusivo, manipulative, pathological liar genuinely love their child? On the other side of the coin, Stephanie Smothers is quite clearly a doting, hardworking mother, but she isn’t as innocent as she seems. Throughout the movie she becomes more willing to lie and manipulate, and she pretty much steals the life of her missing friend. Both women believe the terrible things they do are for the good of others, but are either right?
Emily Nelson is married to Sean Townsend, a former writer who can cook and actually gives a damn about his kid. Sean is played by newcomer Hollywood prince Henry Golding. Both characters he has played so far are interesting but Sean is a bit more gullible than Nick Young. Sean is unwittingly a pawn in Emily’s insane insurance fraud scheme, and sleeping with Stephanie doesn’t make him any smarter.
A major point of interest in this film is the soundtrack. One of the songs on my September playlist, “Crier tout bas” was featured in the trailer, but not the movie. Despite the irritating lack of that song, there are other beautiful French pop tunes to underscore the lavish indiscretions of these desperate housewives.
The whole movie basically centers on a $4 million insurance policy, yet the final destination of this money isn’t quite clear. This is just one example of the many plot points heavily stressed but unresolved, or resolved badly. The last ten minutes of the movie will give viewers whiplash and then probably leave them severely disappointed. Overall the movie had amazing production and actors, but tried to shove too many plot twists into only 2 hours. 8/10 for stellar cast, beautiful set and costumes, and a great French Pop soundtrack. Two points docked for too many plot twists and an unsatisfactory ending .