IF Movie Review: John Krasinski’s Lovely Ode to Childhood


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I finally saw IF yesterday, and I completely understand why this didn’t click with critics. The movie is light on explaining things and has an ending that might not be for everyone. It’s a familiar story for a family audience, with several of its plot points being done before.

I’m a total pushover for heartwarming stories about adults rediscovering the joy of simple things. And, director John Krasinski seems to channeled those classic 90s family films. There’s a clear sense of nostalgia and focus on the pure fun of family bonding.

Before I say anything else, the soundtrack. This is why music is important in movies. Music seemed to fit both the specific scene aka the reimagining of the retirement house and the whimsical mood of the film as a whole.

Ryan Reynolds doesn’t play himself for a change

The acting in this movie is phenomenal. The young lead Cailey Fleming delivers a performance that feels incredibly real. Plus, Ryan Reynolds completely disappears into his role – a refreshing change from his usual style. Seeing Reynolds in that dorky clown outfit was simultaneously the most beautiful and the most hilarious moment in the entire film.

While some voice actors might feel like celebrity cameos, the core cast truly embodies their characters. Hearing Steve Carell voice Blue was a delightful surprise, akin to discovering Billy Crystal as Calcifer in Howl’s Moving Castle. Both voice casting choices were unexpected yet perfect. Cosmo seems poised to become a breakout character – and with good reason!

Despite all the talk about the famous actors voicing the characters, most of them don’t get much to do in the movie. Blake Lively, Awkwafina, Bill Hader, Matthew Rhys and Keegan-Michael Key kind of just show up for a bit and then leave, like they’re just special guests. You might forget they were even in the movie. One voice truly shines through in this charming cast was Louis Gossett Jr. He brings a warm, comforting presence to life as the wise old teddy bear. The film reaches its most touching moment during a beautiful sunset scene on the pier.

Speaking of IFs

Each IF looked completely different, like they stepped straight out of a different movie. The diverse designs of the imaginary friends (IF) in the movie add to its charm, showing the limitless creativity of a child’s mind. These characters, from fire-breathing dragons to talking marshmallows, are far from generic or silly; they highlight the imaginative variety that makes the film engaging.

Blue, the cute and huggable IF, is a great example of this. Carrell’s voice acting brings warmth and relatability to it, making him memorable.

Ending Notes

In short, I enjoyed it. It’s essentially what Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends would be like if it were a movie directed by Steven Spielberg in the 90s. If you enjoy movies like Jumanji, you might like this one too. However, looking at its box office performance, it’s clear why these types of movies aren’t made as often anymore. Still, I have a feeling that in 20 years, IF will have a nostalgic fanbase.



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