Film Review # 2: “IF”


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  • IF
  • Starring: Ryan Reynolds, Cailey Fleming
  • Directed by: John Krasinski
  • Rating: PG
  • Running Time: 1 hr 44 mins
  • Paramount Pictures


It’s rare to find a film that an entire family of all ages can sit down and enjoy in a darkened theater. “IF” happens to be one of those rarities. A blend of computer animation and live action, “IF,” written and directed by “The Office” alum John Krasinski, is an emotionally intoxicating story brimming with poignant moments that will inspire both smiles and tears. Its lead, Cailey Fleming (“The Walking Dead”, “Peppermint”) is delightful on the silver screen supported fantastically by Ryan Reynolds.


It begins with 12-year-old Bea (Fleming) moving into her grandmother’s (Fiona Shaw) New York City apartment while her dad (Krasinski) waits in a local hospital to have what we presume is a heart surgery of some type. (All that is said is that her dad has a “broken heart”.) What makes it doubly hard for Bea is that her dad is in the same hospital where her mother died apparently from cancer a few years earlier.


One evening, Bea is out after dark buying a charger for her camcorder when she sees an odd creature, who looks like something from a 1940s cartoon, going into her grandmother’s apartment building. The next day, she sees it again only this time talking with a man named Cal (Ryan Reynolds) who is trying to bring back an emotional, sometimes clumsy, large purple creature named Blue (Steve Carell) to the apartment building.


When the curious Bea makes contact with Cal, she learns he is working with imaginary friends, or IFs, to find them new kids after the children they were with previously have grown up and forgotten about them. Reluctantly, Cal allows Bea to help him, but it proves be a daunting task for them both, especially after they try to reunite the IFs with their now grown-up kids.


“IF” pulls at every possible heart string and will leave you feeling warm and fuzzy when you leave the theater. Krasinski does a perfect job of not getting bogged down in the details of what his character’s illness is or its aftermath, thus not making it more of a scarier situation than what it needs to be for young kids. Reynolds delivers a terrific, yet subdued performance that allows Fleming to be the film’s brightest star. Fleming gives a good balancing act with an age where kids are in that gray area of still being regarded as a kid but on the verge of being a “grown-up” teenager. Mix in some great character voices and outstanding cinematography by legendary cinematographer Janusz Kaminski (“Schindler’s List,” “Saving Private Ryan”) and you have an outstanding family film.


Overall, there are not ifs, ands, or buts about it, “IF” is wonderful film by any definition.


“IF” receives ★★★★ out of five.

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