IF – REVIEW

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IF - the director of 'A Quiet Place' gives us some friendly creatures

What if…? is that eternal hypothetical question? For example…What if Boris Johnson didn’t look like Hitler’s DNA injected into a gummi bear? What if Keir Starmer didn’t have all the charisma of tofu? What if Megan Markle’s only talent really is just making jam for her website? Here though, IF, is an acronym for Imaginary Friend and it’s Bea (Cailey Fleming) a young girl who has been through the grief and trauma of losing her mother to cancer – yes it is t the usual cheery start to a summer movie that might be expected. But as if that isn’t  enough she finds that her widowed father (John Krasinski) is in hospital for an operation that may or may not see him go the same way as his wife. Consequently Bea lives with her grandmother (Fiona Shaw) visiting him in hospital where he, for his daughter’s sake, refuses to dwell on the seriousness of his impeding operation.

But its Bea who has a rare skill to see the IF’s of others all of whom are headed up by Cal (Ryan Reynolds) who can also see all of them who have been abandoned as their appointed children have grown up and moved on. It’s Cal who recruits Bea in his endeavour to reconnect the IF’s with the kids.

Right from the starts IF is melancholy and it’s a mood which pervades the rest of the film but it is not without its moments. The IF’s themselves are all celebrity voiced – a curse of modern animated features ever since Robin Williams inspired casting as genie in Aladdin and since then every known talent has jumped on board the gravy train often to no discernible benefit. It’s Steve Carell, himself no stranger to lending his vocal talents to animated features, as Blue an enormous blue cuddly IF joined by Phoebe Waller-Bridge as Blossom the only other discernible voice of the assembled IF’s. Written by John Krasinski the film’s narrative is a little confusing for younger children who will be drawn to the animated IF’s and Reynolds character becomes increasingly redundant as the film progresses until the very end when his existence is made clear.  Perhaps best is a song & dance sequence set to Tina Turner’s ’Better be good to me’ a forgotten track that is brilliantly empowering here.

Reynolds is not quite the ‘merc with a mouth’ on screen personality we most readily associate him but Callie Fleming already a veteran of big budget films ‘The Force Awakens’ and ‘The Rise of Skywalker’ is a star in the making. Ultimately IF perhaps lacks the magic it really needs to make this something special and an uneven story line hinders it further but ultimately IF is a call to reconnect with the comfort of childhood memories which all of us could maybe benefit from….. except perhaps Elizabeth Fritzl.

related feature : What EmilyBlunt did between scenes & John Krasinki told the crew when filming, ‘A Quiet Place 2’

related feature : Those Quiet Place monsters

We chatted with Cailey Fleming & Fiona Shaw about the making of the film,,,,

Here’s the IF trailer…..

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