Soundtrack Review: A Simple Favor (2018)

A Simple Favor premiered in theaters in September of 2018. Based on the 2017 novel of the same name by Darcey Bell, the film centers around Stephanie (Anna Kendrick), a mommy vlogger who seeks to uncover the truth behind her best friend Emily’s (Blake Lively) sudden disappearance from their small town. The soundtrack for this mystery thriller was composed by Theodore Shapiro.

Regarding the soundtrack for A Simple Favor, Shapiro had this to say:

The first thing that was really interesting about working on A Simple Favor was finding the tone of it. It was unusual and very tricky because it’s a mystery and a thriller, but also genuinely funny at the same time. This was an instance in which the music had to match the tone of the film precisely…It couldn’t feel satirical or feel like we were goofing on a genre at all. It had to feel perfectly in sync. (credit to Pop Disciple for this interview excerpt)

Listening to the soundtrack, the first thing that jumped out to me is how symphonic this soundtrack is, surely a result of Shapiro’s classical training as a musician and composer. In the film’s title cue “A Simple Favor,” Shapiro introduces a distinctive motif played on a metallophone that recurs in multiple tracks throughout the score. This is by far one of the most traditional soundtracks I’ve listened to. With the recurring motif, it reminded me of the soundtracks you find in more “classic” films, but that’s not a bad thing at all. For all that I love “modern” film scores that are minimalist, electronic, or a blend of styles, I also will always love scores that hearken back to a bygone era of film.


Another thing that sticks out about Shapiro’s score is its resemblance to the music you hear in Hitchcock films. One summary I’ve read describes A Simple Favor as “Hitchcockian” and you can definitely hear the similarities to the “Master of Suspense” in this soundtrack. When the music isn’t playing like a symphony, it’s dripping with suspense in all the right ways. The strings hold out notes and set up tension in a way where at times I can almost visualize what’s going on (and that’s a good sign for a film score).

I admit I was surprised by how much I enjoyed listening to this score. Theodore Shapiro crafted a soundtrack that is truly a delight for the ears and I might need to check this film out in the future, just to hear this music in context. Let me know what you think about A Simple Favor (and its soundtrack) in the comments below and have a great day!

See also:

Film Soundtracks A-W

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