IF Review – A Truly Heartfelt Journey Through A Kaleidoscope of Emotions and The Timeless Need for Friends

Bring tissues for the whole family when you go to watch 'IF'

Directed and written by John Krasinski, IF is a whimsical exploration of life’s problems, the multitude of emotions that come with them, and the universal need for friendship and support. All of which is wrapped in a visually striking and emotionally rich narrative and the bonds between children and their imaginary friends. This film not only captures the essence of childhood wonder but also delves into the complex emotions associated with growing up and letting go.

Stellar Performances That Capture the Heart

L-r front row, Jon Stewart (Robot), Big Red, Sam Rockwell (Super Dog), Emily Blunt (Unicorn), Maya Rudolph (Ally Aligator), Phoebe Waller-Bridge (Blossom), Keegan-Michael Key (Slime Ball), Blake Lively (OctoCat) and L-r, backrow, Matt Damon (Flower), Richard Jenkins (Art Teacher), Bill Hader (Banana), Apple, Amy Schumer (Gummy Bear) and Louis Gossett Jr.

IF features an impressive ensemble cast, with each actor bringing a unique charm and depth to their roles. At the forefront is Cailey Fleming, who portrays Bea, a young girl blessed with the rare gift of seeing “IFs” – the imaginary friends long forgotten by their former companions. Fleming delivers a remarkable performance, navigating a broad spectrum of emotions that make her character’s journey both relatable and profoundly moving. Her ability to convey the innocence of childhood alongside the painful pangs of growing up is nothing short of captivating.

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Alongside Fleming, Steve Carell voices Blue, the kind-hearted, purple furry creature who was once an imaginary confidant. Carell infuses Blue with a sense of joy and wonder that is palpable, making every scene he graces both uplifting and nostalgic. His performance is a reminder of the carefree days of youth and the joyous unrestraint of a child’s imagination.

John Krasinski’s Hopeful and Inspiring Vision

Emily Blunt (Unicorn)

As a filmmaker, John Krasinski continues to demonstrate his versatility and depth with IF. His direction and script carry a genuinely hopeful tone, reflecting a belief in the goodness and resilience of the human spirit. Krasinski’s storytelling is thoughtful, with a narrative that weaves through the themes of loss, companionship, and the rediscovery of one’s youthful spirit. The film’s premise—centered around the magical and often heartrending reunion of children with their imaginary friends—highlights the lasting impact of these fantastical creations on their human counterparts.

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Krasinski’s ability to balance fantastical elements with real-world emotional stakes is commendable, providing a story that is as much a delight for children as it is a poignant reflection for adults. His direction ensures that IF resonates on multiple levels, making it a layered and enriching experience.

A Kaleidoscope of Audio and Visual Kaleidoscope Splendor

Ryan Reynolds (Cal), left, and Steve Carell (Blue)

Michael Giacchino’s musical score in IF is a standout element, guiding the film’s emotional trajectory with masterful precision. The music elevates the storytelling, enriching the film’s heartwarming and tear-jerking moments alike. Giacchino’s compositions are perfectly timed with the vibrant visuals, creating an immersive experience that tugs at the heartstrings.

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The color palette of IF is another aspect worth noting. The film utilizes bright, vibrant colors that reflect the limitless creativity of a child’s mind. The vivid hues and imaginative settings serve as a backdrop that enhances the film’s thematic focus on wonder and nostalgia. The visual effects, while not overtly grandiose, effectively capture the essence of the imaginary characters, making them as real to the audience as they are to Bea.

If I Had to Complain

L-r, Ryan Reynolds (Cal), Cailey Fleming (Bea), Louis Gossett Jr. (Lewis) and Jon Stewart (Robot)

While IF offers a rich tapestry of emotions and fantastical visuals, it does have its shortcomings. The film opts for a lighter touch on the visual representation of dire situations, likely to maintain its family-friendly appeal. This choice, while understandable, sometimes dilutes the perceived stakes, leaving the audience longing for a deeper exploration of the challenges faced by the characters.

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Furthermore, the conclusion of IF feels somewhat abrupt. The narrative builds up a complex web of emotional and fantastical elements but rushes towards resolution, leaving several emotional threads not fully explored. An additional exploration, perhaps delving deeper into the reconnections and the subsequent changes in the characters’ lives, could have provided a more satisfying and impactful finale.

IF is a Perfect Film for the Family, But an Essential Film for Millennials

I had to add this part because the words finally came to me this morning. IF is a film that is perfect for the entire family to watch. But as a struggling millennial who has been through nothing but financial crisis and job crisis since I became an adult, the crushing weight of reality has weighed heavy on my heart and soul. This is by no means unique to me, my generation, or even adults in general. But there is a unique jaded and cynical aspect to millennials, especially those of us who even remotely bought into the lie, that will be, maybe not fully healed, but at least lovingly dressed.

But on top of that, as someone still dumb and bold enough to be chasing their dreams in their mid-30s, IF was thoroughly heartwarming to experience. It was therapeutic. It was an audio-visual experience of being kind to yourself, being unconditionally given empathy, and reconnecting with the parts of yourself you have suppressed or even lost. It is a reminder that all of us, regardless of age, should not just hold on to, but need, hope and inspiration. It is one of the most beautiful messages delivered in cinematic history.

If You’re Wondering

Steve Carell (Blue)

Despite these minor critiques, IF is a film that succeeds in celebrating the boundless creativity and emotional depth of childhood. It serves as a touching reminder of the importance of friendship, imagination, and the enduring impact of our earliest bonds. John Krasinski’s hopeful storytelling, combined with stellar performances and a moving score, makes IF a delightful and meaningful film. It is a must-see for anyone who cherishes the magic of childhood and the transformative power of imagination. With IF, Krasinski not only entertains but also invites viewers to reconnect with their inner child, proving once again why he is one of the most thoughtful and impactful directors in contemporary cinema.

I give IF a


IF releases exclusively in theaters May 17, 2024.

About IF


RELEASE DATE: May 17, 2024
EXECUTIVE PRODUCERS: John J. Kelly, George Dewey
PRODUCERS: Allyson Seeger, p.g.a., John Krasinski, p.g.a., Andrew Form, p.g.a., Ryan Reynolds
CAST: Cailey Fleming, Ryan Reynolds, John Krasinski, Fiona Shaw, Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Louis Gossett Jr., Alan Kim, Liza Colón-Zayas and Steve Carell

From writer and director John Krasinski, IF is about a girl who discovers that she can see everyone’s imaginary friends — and what she does with that superpower — as she embarks on a magical adventure to reconnect forgotten IFs with their kids. IF stars Ryan Reynolds, John Krasinski, Cailey Fleming, Fiona Shaw, and the voices of Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Louis Gossett Jr. and Steve Carell alongside many more as the wonderfully unique characters that reflect the incredible power of a child’s imagination.

Do you already have your tickets for IF? Did you have an imaginary friend? Whose performance are you most excited to experience? Let us know your thoughts on Discord!

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Kevin Fenix

Professional Nerd | Amateur Human | Creative/Content Director The best way to describe Kevin Fenix is the kid you never tell what the buttons do in video games so you have a chance to win. Being 6’ 4” and Asian, he never really fit in, so he got comfortable standing out. Not only is it easy to find him in crowds, he dabbles in the culinary arts, does a little stand up and improv, and can honestly say Spider-Man is the Jesus-like influence of his life. Kevin Fenix loves dogs, movies, television, comics, comedy, and to shoot people… with video.