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  • Writer's pictureJamie

IF - Review

IF is not new, it's a nice story with a good heart to it and a fully realised look. It may not be the most cohesive, jumping from bit to bit of the story but the emotions are conveyed well enough that I left satisfied with tears in my eyes and childhood nostalgia in my heart.

John Krasinski pivots his previous directorial entries from A Quiet Place to an imaginary place. This film is aimed at families and I think serves a really nice message of staying young and enjoying the people around you.

In an Up style opening, we see the development of a family, with Bea (Cailey Fleming), and her parents making memories being filmed through a camcorder. We see Bea’s mother get sick, still making memories until we fade out and jump ahead a few years.

Bea’s dad (John Krasinski) is now in hospital, for a simple surgery this time, bringing back memories for Bea and her dad. Bea’s dad tries to joke and “stay young” for Bea, who is insistent she is too old for any of it. While her dad spends time in the hospital, Bea lives with her grandmother (Fiona Shaw). One day Bea sees an IF, following her around to confront her. It turns out that Blossom (Phoebe Waller-Bridge) is without her kid, who has grown up and left her without someone to be imaginary friends with. This is along with a long list of imaginary friends of varying purposes and personalities. Bea finds her own purpose through this, playing matchmaker to these IFs.

She is joined by Cal (Ryan Reynolds) who can also see the IFs and has put himself in charge of their care.

The film has a lot of nice moments, and the matchmaking element is done really well. I think these in particular are the emotional anchors of the film, letting you connect really effectively with the IFs and who they are matched with. While I enjoyed that aspect, I think there is a lot that the film does to jump from point to point, changing characters very quickly in the way they have been set up.

The cast helps to give this a nice balance though, with Cailey Fleming being really impressive in the lead. I think the voice performances from the likes of Steve Carell, Phoebe Waller-Bridge and Louis Gossett Jr. make the IFs very quickly likeable, even if Carell’s IF is the least interesting thing to me in this film. I feel his character, Blue, is something that a lot of kids will enjoy as he’s the “comedic relief" in the film. Ryan Reynolds doesn’t get enough to do in the film which is a shame because when you see him let go in moments it made me want to see more of this character. He is quite reserved which is not how we have seen Reynolds lately.

The film also looks great in my opinion, with some really nice sections filmed for the matchmaking scenes. The designs of the characters are dynamic and have their own reasons for existing. They’re also matched with a crazy cast of cameos, spanning from George Clooney to Blake Lively. The different looks of the characters adds to the imagination and there are parts of the film where imagination is implemented in a really nice way but it doesn’t completely utilise the theme where it seemed like it was going to.

I feel that IF has a really nice family quality to it, with enough for both parents and kids to be able to enjoy together. The humour feels more on the kids side, with a few jokes that the adults may enjoy. The adults get to have some childhood nostalgia or be forced to reflect on their own past, where they may have had an imaginary friend of their own. Either way, it's a nice idea and I think having a film with genuine heart to it can never be a negative thing.


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