WHAT IF – Film Review

Daniel Radcliffe sheds his tough Harry Potter persona in 2013’s What If (also known in other countries as The F Word), a romantic comedy film that will leave viewers delighted.

A medical school dropout named Wallace (Daniel Radcliffe) lives a simple yet bizarre life. He usually sits on top of his house roof and uses his cell phone as a way to relax. One day he attends a party that his friend hosts, and there he meets a girl named Chantry (Zoe Kazan). The two quickly become best friends, however, at the time of the two of them being best friends, Chantry has a boyfriend named Ben (Rafe Spall). Wallace begins to develop feelings for Chantry, and wants to make an attempt at being together.

I was not particularly excited to see What If at all. This was because the film’s synopsis really did not captivate my interest. We have seen similar stories done in films numerous times. To me, it looked like a generic romance film that you watch, then about a day later, you forgot you even saw it. The only two reasons why I ultimately decided to watch What If was because it starred Radcliffe, who I loved in the Harry Potter franchise, amongst many other films. When I did watch it, I was proven wrong. I ended up really enjoying this film a lot.

Daniel Radcliffe (left) as Wallace and Zoe Kazan (right) as Chantry in What If (2013)

What If to me is also an overlooked film that does not get that much attention. I have not seen anybody talk about this film anywhere, which is a big shame, as it is written clever, has great performances all across the board, and has impacting emotional moments.

Radcliffe is great here, as basically a man that does not do much with his life. He essentially just relaxes at home with his family, goes to the movie theatre on occasion, and uses his cell phone. But, I did end up caring about his character. Wallace is such a funny character, and can be extremely relatable at times. His character can often be witty in normal conversations which further boosted my liking of the character.

Additionally, Adam Driver, who you probably know best as Kylo Ren from the sequel trilogy of Star Wars films, does a good job here as well. He portrays Allan, who is Wallace’s best friend throughout What If. He helps Wallace at numerous times in his attempts to win over Chantry, which often makes for humorous and occasionally emotional scenes.

Kazan also delivers one of her all time best performances here as Chantry. Much like Radcliffe’s Wallace, she is also extremely likeable. Wallace and Chantry’s characters can often make for striking parallels as well. You want Wallace, a sad and lonely guy, to get together with the girl of his dreams, being Chantry. But you also want Chantry to maintain her relationship with Ben, as that is who she feels immense happiness with. Additonally, Radcliffe and Kazan have outstanding chemistry here. It seems as if the two actors are actually friends in real life, which they might be, and if they are, I would not be surprised one bit.

Zoe Kazan as Chantry in What If (2013)

The screenplay for What If, written by Elan Mastai, is also exceptional. It is such a clever script, and is paced perfectly. I have seen many romantic comedy films, and What If is one of the most well written of the bunch.

Furthermore, to my surprise, the film also has many plot twists that occur towards the second and third acts.

The film can have scenes that are not as interesting as others, however. The majority of the film luckily, is brilliantly entertaining, mainly due to Kazan and Radcliffe.

Beautifully written and filled with witty charm, What If is a surprisingly relatable romantic comedy.

Overall Grade: A

MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for sexual content, including references throughout, partial nudity and language

Cast: Daniel Radcliffe, Zoe Kazan, Megan Park, Adam Driver

Directed by: Michael Dowse

Distributed by: Entertainment One

Running Time: 102 minutes

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