IF Review


The description ‘beautiful film’ is not one that is often used to describe films with the family genre – but it is really the only way you describe brand new film If.

From its trailer there was absolutely nothing to suggest that director/screenwriter John Krasinski’s (A Quiet Place) brand new film would venture into the cinematic masterpiece realm – yet here we are with a film that is guaranteed to become a classic film for generations of families to come.

The film centres around a young girl named Bea (Cailey Fleming – The Walking Dead) whose life is turned upside down after the death of her mother and the hospitalisation of her father (John Krasinski – Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan).

As she moves to New York to stay with her Grandmother (Fiona Shaw – Harry Potter franchise) she accidentally discovers a small apartment upstairs that is home to Cal (Ryan Reynolds – Deadpool), Blossom (voiced by Phoebe Waller-Bridge – Indiana Jones And The Dial Of Destiny) and Blue (Steve Carell – The 40-Year-Old Virgin).

Bea begins to learn more about them and soon learns that Blossom and Blue are Imaginary Friends (Ifs) who have been forgotten about by the kids they were once friends with. Bea then learns that it is Cal’s role to try and find them, and many other IFs, new kids… a journey that Bea is soon taken on as well.

The story sounds simple but the film itself is not. A quick look at the plot and the trailer and you could be forgiven for thinking that this might be some kind of Patch Adams like family comedy – but instead this film goes into the rare air of films like Martin Scorsese’s Hugo – family films that are so good that they pretty much take on an artistic feel rather than just going for cheap laughs.

What Krasinski has created here is a film with many, many levels. On the surface this is a fun film – yes there are laughs, including the long running joke of the IF that keeps tripping Cal over, but this is also a complex film that explores some very deep topics. From a young girl battling to cope with the emotions attached to possibly losing a parent through to the rejection that many IFs are facing within their lives – this is a film that tackles tough topics head on. Even the fact Krasinski places the ‘retired’ IFs in what appears to be a nursing home seems to suggest that he is making a powerful comment about how modern day society treats our elderly.

That is where If drifts into the masterpiece realm. While dealing with such deep topics Krasinski, and his cinematographer Janusz Kaminski (War Horse), are not afraid to take their characters and their audience on surreal journeys that feel like beautiful dreamscapes. Perhaps the most thrilling part about these montages are that Krasinski has found a way for them to move the story along rather than take the audience on a detour for a moment.

The other fun part of watching If is playing ‘guess that star’ when it comes to the actors who are voicing the IFs. Yes Steve Carrell steals the show with his amazing voice acting skills bringing Blue to life but he is well supported by a cavalcade of stars that includes the likes of George Clooney, Bradley Cooper, Matt Damon and Brad Pitt.

Credit must also be paid to young Cailey Fleming who handles the deep emotional storylines that Bea must go through remarkably well and she never allows herself to be overshadowed by the likes of Ryan Reynolds and John Krasinski whom both manage to reign in their performances in a very subtle way.

If you are going to go and see If in the cinema make sure you prepare yourself for an emotional journey. You will laugh and you will cry – that is the power of this film, but what makes this film so amazing is how it will appeal to people of all ages. Adults will love the artistic side of this film while kids will be drawn into the magic that Krasinski has managed to create – this is a film that families will be enjoying for a long time to come.

4/5 Stars