IF rests on the unique concept and the star value.


IF (English) Review {2.0/5} & Review Rating

Star Cast: Ryan Reynolds, Cailey Fleming, John Krasinski, Steve Carell, Phoebe Waller-Bridge

Director: John Krasinski

If Movie Synopsis:
IF is the story of a young girl and her imaginary friends. Elizabeth aka Bea (Cailey Fleming), 12, loses her mother to a terminal illness. Her father (John Krasinski), meanwhile, is admitted to a hospital for a risky heart surgery. Bea, who’s still not over her mother’s demise, fears that she might lose her father as well. She comes to stay with her grandmother (Fiona Shaw) in a residence in New York. One day, she hears movement in the flat above her grandmother’s. When she goes to check, she realizes that it is owned by Cal (Ryan Reynolds) and two imaginary friends (IFs) – Blue (voiced by Steve Carell) and Blossom (voiced by Phoebe Waller-Bridge). Bea soon realizes that she and Cal are the only two people who have the ability to see people’s IFs. As Bea becomes friends with Cal, the latter takes her to a retirement home of IFs where many such creatures reside. Many of them are saddened that they have been abandoned by the kids whom they helped. Bea and Cal decide to help these IFs find a new home. But there’s a slight problem. What happens next forms the rest of the film.

If Movie Story Review:
John Krasinski’s story is unique and kudos to him for being able to come up with such an out-of-the-box concept. John Krasinski’s screenplay is peppered with some lovely moments. But it fails to wow the audience. John Krasinski’s dialogues are normal.

John Krasinski’s direction is a mixed bag. He has given the film a light and mainstream treatment, akin to Disney’s holiday releases. A few scenes are sure to touch the hearts of the moviegoers and even make their eyes moist. It also makes a larger point about innocence and life that would surely be appreciated.

On the flipside, the concept is a bit confusing, and John fails to simplify to the audience. Even the adults would not be able to fully comprehend the plot. Hence, one can imagine how it would be for the kids, who are the target audience for the film. None of the scenes blow the minds of the viewers. Lastly, the climax is predictable.

If Movie Performances:
Ryan Reynolds, however, is superb. He underplays his part in some scenes. He lets the other actors take over and yet, he excels in those scenes. Cailey Fleming plays the lead role with panache. She is quite good in the emotional scenes. John Krasinski is adorable in a special appearance. Fiona Shaw leaves a mark, especially in her crucial scene in the second half. Alan Kim (Benjamin) is cute while Liza Colón-Zayas (Janet) and Bobby Moynihan (Jeremy) lend able support.

From the voiceover cast, Steve Carell rocks the show followed by Phoebe Waller-Bridge. The others who do well are Louis Gossett Jr (Lewis; bear), Emily Blunt (Unicorn), Sam Rockwell (Guardian Dog), Awkwafina (Bubble), Blake Lively (Octopuss), George Clooney (Spaceman), Amy Schumer (Gummy) and Bradley Cooper (Ice). Funnily, Brad Pitt is credited as the voice behind Keith, an invisible IF, who doesn’t have a single dialogue!

If music and other technical aspects:
Michael Giacchino’s music has a fantasy feel. Janusz Kamiński’s cinematography is neat. Jess Gonchor’s production design is imaginative. Jenny Eagan’s costumes are realistic. The VFX is terrific. The scene where Cal comes out of a painting is very well done. Christopher Rouse and Andy Canny’s editing is slick.

If Movie Conclusion:
On the whole, IF rests on the unique concept and the star value. But due to the confusing narrative and lack of a ‘Wow’ factor, it might face a tough time at the box office.



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