The What If film, starring Daniel Radcliffe and Zoe Kazan, is without a doubt one of the best romantic comedies I have ever seen. Dubbed as the best rom-com since 500 Days of Summer, I would take this one step further and say that it is not only the best film of its genre since, but that it is even better than 500 Days of Summer.
What If tells the story of two friends Wallace and Chantry who meet through Chantry’s cousin and Wallace’s best friend, Allan (Adam Driver). The two get on from the beginning but Wallace is shocked when the night ends and Chantry asks for his number whilst also mentioning that her boyfriend of five years is waiting for her at home. Undeterred by this, Wallace still wants to be friends and the two become the best of friends. Chantry and Wallace are basically inseparable and their best friends Allan and Nicole are convinced that the pair are in love but both Chantry and Wallace continue to deny this and Chantry is still with her boyfriend, Ben. As work and life begin to get in the way, Chantry and Wallace remain friends but things become more complicated…
Whilst the What If movie sounds like your typical rom-com and to be fair, it does have the same framework as most other romantic comedies, there’s something very different about this film. It is both incredibly moving and funny at the same time. Although there were lots of clichéd moments within the film, the plot doesn’t fall into step with all the other rom-coms and there are lots of twists and turns to accompany every cliché making this a really refreshing rom-com. Towards the end of this film I found myself with tears streaming silently down my cheeks as I felt like I was feeling the characters’ pain with them and what I was watching was so beautifully sad I just couldn’t help myself.
There is an amazing chemistry between the characters Chantry and Wallace to which the film probably owes its success. Radcliffe and Kazan get their characters absolutely on point which, I must admit, surprised me immensely. Obviously Radcliffe has been trying to drop the notion that he is Harry Potter and nothing else for years now but I don’t think that he has entirely succeeded. However, after watching the What If film, I am convinced that Radcliffe has well and truly left the boy wizard behind and is really making something of himself in the world of acting. Both Chantry and Wallace are very quirky characters and it takes a lot to portray these sorts of characters well, without making them look either too weird or too clichéd. Alongside Radcliffe and Kazan were Megan Park, Allan Driver, Mackenzie Davis and Rafe Spall who are a great supporting cast and they all bring something different to the table which when put together makes this film a brilliant watch.
The soundtrack captures the essence of this film perfectly. It’s the sort of music that makes your heart warm up slowly from the inside out and puts you in a good mood and fills you with a sense of hope. There are a lot of acoustic guitars and it’s all rather slow and mellow – all perfectly in tune with what’s going on on screen. The majority of the soundtrack is instrumental and yet I could discern exactly what kind of message was being brought across by it.
The What If movie is quite long, lasting around two hours, which for most films of this kind is far too long, but I found myself wanting more even as the credits began to roll. This film is not cheesy in the slightest, it is very raw and real and if someone told me this story was about two ordinary people that they knew, I wouldn’t be surprised in the slightest. This film is definitely more mellow and poignant than your average romantic comedy and a lot of the humour is typically British awkward humour which I loved. In addition, this film is set in Canada so it was nice to see a film set outside of either the UK or the States which just gives this film even more brownie points. All in all, this is an absolutely amazing film that breaks the mould in its genre of romantic-comedy. It is a must-see for all those with a heart, particularly if you’re fans of 500 Days of Summer. This film is beautiful and will both break and mend your heart whilst watching it and I cannot recommend it enough.