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Film Review: IF

Welcome back to the blog readers. There are some certain films that have come out that make you feel good inside, from E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982) all the way to one that I would consider a feel-good film in Joy Ride (2023). When I heard that Jim Halpert himself, aka John Krasinski, would be doing one of these, my intrigue towards the project definitely piqued. Now that the film, titled IF, is here, what would I think about it? Stick around and find out.

IF was written and directed by John Krasinski. The film stars him, Cailey Fleming, Ryan Reynolds, Fiona Shaw, and the voices of Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Louis Gossett Jr., and Steve Carell. In the film, a young girl and her neighbor find themselves able to see imaginary friends and wind up on a journey of self-discovery.

I did not think Krasinski had it in him to direct a light-hearted family film, especially since he absolutely killed it with A Quiet Place (2018) and its 2021 sequel (Side note, I cannot wait to see Day One at the end of June). So, knowing that he is 2 for 2 for me, would he be able to make it 3 for 3? And my honest reaction is...hell yeah. This film is the most charming film I have seen in a long time, and I had a smile on my face the entire time. The performances of Fleming, Reynolds, and Gossett Jr. were highlights for me, as was the overall story and the score by the always reliable Michael Giacchino.

We have to talk about the awesome performance of Cailey Fleming. In my mind, she is absolutely the heart and soul of this film. This film revolves around her character Bea and Fleming comes to play delivering all the emotions that are required of her. Bea's journey is central to the film, and Fleming is an expert at making you feel for her and her character. And by the end of the film, you will definitely find yourself rooting for her character. If there is ever a sequel to this film, I would very much appreciate her being in it (although the box office does not look promising and this feels like a beginning, middle, and ending of a story).

Next, I want to talk about the performance of Ryan Reynolds. I am already a fan of most of the stuff that Reynolds does (including the character we will see him as on July 26th, more on that venture later on). Reynolds in my opinion gives the most layered and believable performances of his career thus far. Reynolds does things in the early stages of this film that make you believe something is afoot with his character, as if he has suffered some trauma, but once things get revealed, he turns another gear and sort of becomes his character from Spirited (2022), just without the (voluntary) singing and dancing.

Finally, I want to extend some praise to the voice performance of the late Louis Gossett Jr., who handled his voice role with gravitas and grace in the best possible way. The voice that he gave to his (conveniently named) character of Louis is one that is full of so much warmth and comfort that makes you want to cuddle with that damn teddy bear. He also gets the absolute best line in the film and possibly of the year (of course nothing will top "He was in the Amazon with my mom when she was researching spiders right before she died." All jokes aside, nothing will top "May thy knife chip and shatter"), when he so elegantly and beautifully says "Nothing that is loved will ever be forgotten." I definitely want to go back and watch some of his performances now that I got a taste of what he was. Rest in peace Lou, and thank you for lending your voice to this beautiful story before you went.

I also want to give a shoutout to the remainder of the voice cast for their excellent job of bringing Krasinski's vision to life. Steve Carell, Phoebe Waller Bridge, the aforementioned late Lou Gossett Jr., Awkwafina, Emily Blunt, George Clooney, Bradley Cooper, Matt Damon, Bill Hader, Richard Jenkins, Keegan-Michael Key, Blake Lively, Sebastian Maniscalco, Christopher Meloni, Matthew Rhys, Sam Rockwell, Maya Rudolph, Amy Schumer, Allyson Seeger, and Jon Stewart all deserve special praise for bringing these IFs to life.

The final point I want to talk about is the story of the film. I can understand why people would believe this film is a kids' film. I would put it more into the vein of a family film. Although I do believe the story is more for adults, as the main message of the film is reconnecting with your childhood. Even though the story is told through the lens of Bea, she did have to grow up fast when her mother died of cancer. I think this is the driving force of the film, and the twist at the end left the biggest, fattest smile on my face. It's not on the level of the twist in Planet of the Apes (1968) or The Usual Suspects (1995) or even a Shamhammer film, but it is something that definitely changes your perspective of the story told, and is one of the more feel-good twists in film ever.

In conclusion, IF proves that John Krasinski was not a fluke with his Quiet Place franchise, and showcases his ability to balance a light-hearted story with humor and a sense of heart-warmness that can only be captured in the movies. Thank you all so much for reading, and I will see you for the next one.

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