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IF review - John Krasinski's film is a heartwarming invitation to rediscover and cherish your inner child

IF by John Krasinski explores the fantasy of meeting your imaginary friend, asking the question, "What if you could meet your imaginary friend?

3.5/5rating
IF review - John Krasinski's film is a heartwarming invitation to rediscover and cherish your inner child
IF

Last Updated: 02.25 PM, May 16, 2024

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IF story:

The film IF is John Krasinski's brainchild, and it follows a little girl as she uses her newfound ability to see people's imaginary friends on a fantastical quest to reunite long-lost IFs with their children. IF has an impressive cast of actors—including Ryan Reynolds, John Krasinski, Cailey Fleming, and Fiona Shaw—along with voices by Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Louis Gossett Jr., Steve Carell, and countless more—representing the extraordinary potential of a child's imagination.

IF review:

Before entering the IF screening, someone asked me if I had any imaginary friends from my childhood, to which I gave a very clichéd response. However, if I had any imaginary friends similar to those depicted in the film, I would be on the verge of a panic. Well, John Krasinski's film is also just a step away from being the third installment in the A Quiet Place franchise, but the filmmaker-actor, with his gaze and charming smile, made sure that the film was for kids to enjoy and adults to critique. But you won't!

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IF begins with a typical montage of a young woman (Catharine Daddario), who is a loving wife and an adorable mother to a toddler, battling with life and eventually succumbing to cancer, leaving the family heartbroken for life. Soon, the toddler transforms into a 12-year-old girl, Bea (Cailey Fleming), who returns to New York City following her father's hospitalisation for heart surgery (Krasinski). Well, tragedies befall the little girl who tries her hand to be unhappy due to circumstances, but the people around her won't let her be. Her dad is a happy-go-lucky guy and stays the same throughout, which she doesn't enjoy. Well, Krasinski did play it well to show a pre-teen girl to behave her age and not be an adult around when that's not the age she is.

As the narrative quickly progresses, Bea also notices and wonders about the strange figurines that surround Cal, an unfriendly neighbour. Well, it's somewhat predictable, and Krasinski makes revelations in no time, as the film is barely one hour and 44 minutes long. 

The leading Hollywood star cast, who are most likely just a phone call away from Krasinski, voices almost all of the imaginary friends, which are of various sizes and shapes with various emotions connecting them to their human counterparts. Their short appearances in their voices will remind you of the nearly nine-minute-long Deewangi song from Om Shanti Om, where all the leading Bollywood stars come under the same roof. 

According to therapists, you should never let your inner child die under any circumstances, and as you grow, keep it growing within you. If you want a live-action version of this profound thought, that's IF for you. Krasinski, even through his character as a fun-loving dad, makes sure that the reason he has been able to keep going is due to his adoration for his inner child; thus, imaginary friends will never leave your side and be there with you during your trying times. 

Although the buildup takes time, you never know when these sweet and deep revelations will come; tears might start rolling down your eyes, just like they did for me when I was watching the film. Krasinski transports us, in less than two hours, on a journey we, as grown-ups, have been reluctant to embark on because of the challenging and demanding lives we've been leading, with the destination seemingly unattainable.

But you know what happens when you accompany a child on a roller-coaster ride or anywhere at a fun fair? You'll laugh uncontrollably, just like they did, and your laughter will resemble that of a baby. If you can bawl like a baby, then why can't you laugh like them?

Kudos to the kid who had an imaginary friend like Blue, voiced in the cutest way by Steve Carell. His presence and voice elevate the film in such a way that you can imagine when a cuddly teddy bear picks you up to give you a bear hug. Phoebe Waller-Bridge, who voices the subtle yet adorable Blossom, complements vibrant Blue with her mature voice, demonstrating her human friend's undying spirit.

Krasinski woos you and wins you over with the characterization of imaginary friends, which you would find relatable, and also accepts the fact that children's imaginations run wilder than adults. The actor-filmmaker gave a glimpse of it in his earlier horror flicks but brought it to a colourful and magical world with IF

Fleming, a mature 12-year-old girl, yearns to be a child, but her circumstances prevent her from doing so. Krasinski's creation of Fleming effectively captures the viewer's immersion in her fantasy world, erasing the hardships she faces in the real world.

Reynolds, on the other hand, is undoubtedly the best choice to lead the IFs. In the real world, or when he plays a superhero with a burned face in Deadpool, the actor always cracks up. So having him play Cal as the one who can live amid unreal figures is a treat that you wish would never end at all.

Last but not least, Krasinski, I just want to say thank you for not being preachy but also being mature in the most immature way by bringing in the importance of keeping the inner child alive through IF. If no one else is available, I would like to envision him as my imaginary friend for at least a few days, and I hope that I don't lose my love for the child within me.

IF verdict:

With a fun yet touching hug, John Krasinski's IF creatively connects the gap between the magic of childhood and the harsh realities of adulthood, inviting audiences to rediscover their inner child. IF is more than just a movie; it's a charming plea to remember the wonder of playtime and the power of imagination that we tend to lose when we grow up. It is definitely worth your time, as it will make you wonder "what if..." with genuine emotion rather than just iffy feelings.

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