What If – Review by Frances Winston
Directed by: Michael Dowse
Starring: Daniel Radcliffe, Zoe Kazan, Megan Park, Adam Driver, Mackenzie Davis, Rafe Spall
In cinemas August 20th
Daniel Radcliffe continues his mission to prove himself as a proper grown up actor in this rom-com offering which asks the eternal question “can men and women ever be friends?” Yes it’s been done before, most famously in ‘When Harry Met Sally’ but it’s a formula that seems to have continuous appeal for audiences so if it ain’t broken…
Radcliffe plays Wallace who, following a bad break up, meets a girl called Chantry (Kazan) at a party. Immediately smitten his hopes of romance are dashed when he discovers she has a boyfriend Ben (Spall). Despite this he resolves to be her friend and the pair develop a deep connection. However maintaining the boundaries of their friendship becomes harder and harder especially since everyone around them seems to think they are in love with each other.
This is the aforementioned When Harry Met Sally for the millennials. There is nothing new here but everything has been tried and tested and proven to work. Although these movies can sometimes descend into saccharine sweetness on the whole this manages to avoid that and is witty and engaging. Radcliffe and Kazan have a really good chemistry and fully engage with their roles. The script is intelligent if predictable and has a generous sprinkling of wit and with part of the film set in Dublin this will have an automatic appeal for Irish audiences (I haven’t heard Dublin mentioned so much in a film since The Commitments!)
This is a sweet film. It won’t change the world and there is nothing new here but it keeps you engaged despite the clichés. Less wishy washy than it could have been it leaves you satisfied. Even though it is completely predictable there is comfort in that familiarity and strong performances raise it above your usual rom-com fare. The movie equivalent of comfort food, this is a perfect date night movie.