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[EXCLUSIVE REVIEW] “IF”; Deeply Moving Beyond Expectations

today16 May 2024

Background

Your childhood is a fragile thing. It’s fleeting, and the next thing you know, you are an adult looking back on it with a wave of yearning nostalgia. It makes you think about how even your parents, your grandparents, have all experienced the loneliness of their own childhoods at some point.

John Krasinski’s latest offering IF, in which he writes, directs, and also acts in, will give you exactly that — a longing for your lost childhood and the innocence you once have. It features Cailey Fleming as Bea, a 12-year-old girl at the edge of her childhood. Having lost her mother at a young age, Bea struggles with the fear of loss, which matures her and simultaneously hints at the end of her childhood.

She then begins seeing other people’s imaginary friends, abandoned by their kids who have grown up. She makes it her mission to help reunite these imaginary friends with their former kids, along with the help of her neighbour Cal, played by Ryan Reynolds.

The film is heart-warming and funny, but contains moments that will undoubtedly bring a tear (or two) to your eye. The sentimentality and poignancy bubbles under the bright and cheerful surface of child-conjured characters. The astounding graphics is something to take note of, as well as the creative forms in which the imaginary friends are shown — aside from the usual unicorns and dragons, there is an imaginary friend in the shape of a glass of water, a swarm of bubbles, a flaming marshmallow, and more!

Fleming is a future star in the making, bouncing off of Reynolds’ Cal, making their dynamic believable and sincere. Reynolds, on the other hand, ditches his usual funny man character in favour of a mysterious, reticent man and last but not least, Krasinski’s brief but nuanced portrayal of a devoted father is nothing short of spectacular.

The film may remind you of Toy Story 3, where the line between being a child and growing up starts to blur, because at the end of the day, you will always be a kid. And no matter how hard you try to say goodbye to your childhood, it is a huge part of who you are, and it always will be.

 

*Cover image via Paramount Pictures

Written by: Farah Qistina


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