‘IF’ Movie Review: A Magical, Imaginative Tale with Uneven Steps

IF Movie Review

IF, directed and written by John Krasinski, is a touching story that blends imagination and fantasy with real-life emotions. Yet, the film’s marketing is a bit deceptive. It’s heavily marketed as a comedy, which it is far from being. Most of the laughs here miss the mark. However, the film does a solid job of tugging at heartstrings, even with some of the faulty storytelling.

IF follows the journey of a young girl who has the remarkable ability—to see everyone’s imaginary friends. As she explores this gift, she embarks on a whimsical quest to reunite these forgotten companions with the children who once imagined them. Check out the trailer below.

IF Movie Trailer

If Movie Review: What I Did and Didn’t Like

I appreciated the depth and sweetness of IF, particularly how it appeals to a sense of childhood and wonder tucked away within all of us. Although it’s billed as a comedy, the film doesn’t really deliver that many laughs, opting instead for a more thoughtful exploration of its themes. For those thinking it’s a light-hearted romp, it’ll be a jarring watch.

The Story

IF is anchored in a fantastical journey where imaginary friends (IFs) become visible to a few. It’s a story full of whimsy but tarnished at times by an uneven script that leaves the movie fan asking some logistic questions, such as why Bea is roaming the streets of New York unsupervised.

Nevertheless, the central message—maintaining a connection with your inner child—is clear and beautiful. It touches on themes of loss and the persistence of joy – and it does a solid job of capturing the unconditional love between a father and daughter, making it an especially touching watch for girls of all ages.  

The Acting

The film’s charm undeniably lies in Cailey Fleming’s portrayal of Bea. She delivers a commendable performance, bringing a refreshing innocence to her character and making her a joy to watch.

In contrast, Ryan Reynolds offers a nuanced portrayal of Cal, a character battling weariness and cynicism, which effectively contrasts with Bea’s spirited naivety. However, Reynolds is challenging to watch here—it’s not one of his charismatic and comedic roles, which, as I mentioned earlier, I expected from the marketing. Reynolds does a fine job of expressing his character’s internal struggle. I just would have liked to have seen more humor and flickers of hope with his performance.

Lastly, although with limited screen time, John Krasinski’s performance is measured and thoughtful here, marked by subtle expressions and gestures that convey more than words could. His work here allows the audience to feel the emotional weight of his moments without overpowering the scene. 

If Movie
Photo courtesy of Paramount Pictures


IF is a film that won’t resonate with everyone (in fact, many critics in our Atlanta market weren’t fans). But it offers a blend of sweet sentimentality with that of sobering life lessons – all wrapped up in an imaginative package that will call out to your inner child.

It’s certainly aimed more at those who have a soft spot for tales of nostalgia and the bittersweetness of growing up. While not perfect—with its comic missteps and occasional narrative oversight—it’s a film that successfully celebrates the small moments of life and the enduring wonder of childhood imagination. For those it reaches, it promises to be a moving experience, though it leaves a few unfulfilled laughs along the way.

IF Movie Review:

Grade: C+


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *