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IF (Film Review)

3 min read
The film poster for IF featuring Ryan Reynolds and a little girl walking in a city, along with a giant purple monster.

Over the years, has made a name for himself in horror, making us scream with his acclaimed franchise A Quiet Place. However, in his latest film, IF, Krasinski forgets about the monsters hiding under our beds in favour of wholesome make-believe friends. IF is Krasinski's first attempt at a family movie and has plenty of whimsy and emotional moments. But, with some tonal fumbles and obvious Pixar worship scattered throughout the film, can it truly stand out in the current wave of family movies hitting the big screen in 2024?

IF follows Bea (Cailey Fleming), who returns to her grandmother's flat when her father (Krasinski) undergoes surgery. While exploring her new home, she gains the ability to see people's imaginary friends, known as IFs. This ability leads Bea to team up with her mysterious neighbour, Cal (). Together, the duo travel around the city, trying to pair up the abandoned IFs with new children.

The film doesn't hide its desire to be a crowd-pleaser at the cinema. And, for the most part, it exceeds in impressing us. Mimicking the combination of live-action with animation in films such as Who Framed Roger Rabbit, Bea's adventure is packed with memorable moments. Be it giant purple sneezes in hospital hallways or hilarious imaginary therapy sessions in abandoned theme parks, IF has unquestionable personality.

Thanks to some borderline-experimental visuals across various animation styles, Krasinski highlights children's individuality. It's a daring approach but pays off in likeable characters that both kids and parents will enjoy. He also gives us big star talent, with Steve Carell and Phoebe Waller-Bridge voicing the whacky IFs. During these big moments of spectacle, it's clear that Krasinski has channelled his inner child. And he invites us to do the same with every smile his story evokes.

However, despite Krasinski's obvious intent to create a classic family flick, something about IF misses the mark. Tonally, IF struggles to define itself. At times, it seems desperate to make us cry or feel nostalgic. From the first scene, we see big emotional moments. The film then has a plethora of monologues, unpacking themes of grief and loneliness. On top of this, the film's slow score is constantly swelling in the background. The music makes every scene feel like a massive emotional revelation.

Unfortunately, there's rarely a break for the audience to digest IF‘s emotional messages. Imagine the third act of a Pixar movie playing on repeat. Imagine learning a big life lesson again and again. Sure, IF‘s script is touching, but after the first 30 minutes, its powerful story unpacking Bea's inner turmoil becomes monotone.

So, while no one can deny that IF has moments of brilliance, it doesn't reach its full potential. It isn't a new family classic. But with strong character design and a script evidently filled with love and humour, IF is still a great movie for all ages. Above all, the flick also showcases Krasinski's directorial range and should excite every cinephile to see his next project.

IF hits UK cinemas on May 17.