MediaFilm ReviewsIF by John Krasinski

IF by John Krasinski

This is an American live-action-fantasy film that tells the story of a girl, who is able to see “Imaginary Friends”, which explains the title given to the movie.

IF. Separate ensemble, acting and voice casts include Cailey Fleming, Ryan Reynolds, John Krasinski, Fiona Shaw, Emily Blunt, Steve Carell, and Matt Damon. Directed by John Krasinski. Rated PG (Mild themes, some scenes may upset young children). 105 min.

Review by Peter W. Sheehan, Jesuit Media Australia

The film follows a young girl, Bea (Cailey Fleming), who finds she is able to see Imaginary Friends, who have been left behind as she grows into adulthood. Bea has lived through difficult times in her life, and she has the ability to see imaginary friends (called “IFs”), who have been abandoned by children they have helped in the past. She discovers that her neighbour, Cal (Ryan Reynolds) has the ability to see the IFs she can see, and she shares imaginary friends with him.

The film is directed as a comedy by John Krasinski, who has been responsible for critically successful horror movies of quality such as “A Quiet Place” (2018) that helped to put well-directed, Australian adventure-horror films on the international cinema map. In this film, Krasinski sheds the horror genre to direct a fantasy-action film with an underlying positive message: happiness can be retrieved by reconnecting with one’s Imaginary Friends, which people had when they were children. In doing so, he uses extensive acting and voice casts to deliver his messages. He sheds the studied negativity of “The Quiet Place” and his film engenders happiness, peace, and laughter by imbedding imagined figures in action scenarios that are both playful and witty.

IFs have been abandoned by the children they helped and reconnecting with them brings good cheer to both the IFs and the adults who used to know them. This is a movie that has been made for children which carries a message that appeals to adults and children in the company of each other. John Krasinski, who wrote and directed the film, uses his imagined figures as creatures to retrieve childhood enjoyment, hopes, and ambitions. The IFs are cartoon monsters that create fantasy situations in adventure format; the figures are child-friendly, and the film depicts adventures which are exciting. The film uses separate acting and voice casts to convey its messages and actors in the casts relate meaningfully to their own past. Emily blunt, for example, voices one of the IFs, as does Matt Damon, her “Oppenheimer” co-star.

This is a light, enjoyable, fantasy film with smart scripting that has been explicitly directed to have family-adventure appeal. It is heart-warming in tone and style, and has been made for family enjoyment. Creatively, it delivers the simple message that “Imaginary Friends” should never be forgotten, simply because one has grown up, and adults could benefit from far more imagination in their life. It is exceptional that the Director of “The Quiet Place”, a horror movie, has put his creative skills to work to express such an intriguingly affectionate film about growing up.

Peter W. Sheehan is an Associate of Jesuit Media


More articles