Movie Poster, IF
Movie Poster, IF

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Plot Summary

At 12 years old, Elizabeth, affectionately known as “Bea,” has lost her mom and might be at risk of losing her dad. They are in New York for him to get heart surgery, and while there, she stays in her grandmother’s apartment. But, with being 12, nothing to do, and trying to numb herself to the idea of losing another parent, she wanders. This especially becomes true when she encounters Blossom, an imaginary friend, or IF, and then meets Calvin and Blue.

All of this leads to Elizabeth believing only she and Calvin can see imaginary friends and that they should help them either find new kids or reunite with their old ones, which makes for the perfect distraction when B’s dad gets life-saving surgery.

Cast and Characters

Character’s Name Actor’s Name
Elizabeth aka Bea Cailey Fleming
Margaret Fiona Shaw
Calvin Ryan Reynolds
Blossom Phoebe Waller-Bridge
Blue Steve Carell
Dad John Krasinski

Elizabeth aka Bea

12-year-old Bea, or Elizabeth if you want to be formal, is someone trying her best to seem mature and older than she is. So, despite her former love for arts and crafts, she presents the idea she has set aside childish things, all while barely having an idea what it means to be an adult besides a stiff upper lip.

Margaret

A dancer when she was younger, but now simply Grandma, Margaret lives in New York City, away from the rest of her family, and it isn’t clear what she does when Bea and her dad aren’t visiting.

Calvin

Calvin, a former magician turned sarcastic and tired man dealing with imaginary friends, helps provide a grand distraction from Bea’s troubles by allowing her to join him in trying to help various imaginary friends. Most of whom he doesn’t seem to be much more than cordial with.

Blossom

Blossom is the closest thing to a friend Calvin has, and it seems she is often in his apartment, usually making tea.

Blue

Blue is one of the more immature imaginary friends we meet, and he is generally happy and childlike until he thinks about his former kid, Jeremy, and how he forgot/abandoned him.

Dad

Bea’s dad is a character. Consider him the exact opposite of Calvin since he is playful, always asking Bea about a story, and trying to break her out of this need to be serious and mature.

  • The actor is also known for their role in “Next Gen.”

Other Noteworthy Information

  1. There is a post-credit scene, which is a tribute

Question(s) Left Unanswered

  1. Where was Elizabeth getting money to buy flowers and everything she bought daily?

Review

Our Rating: Positive (Worth Seeing)

Good If You Like

  • Coming-of-age stories that don’t deal with romantic relationships
  • Crying

Similar To This

  1. Inside/Out
  2. Toy Story 3

Check out our movies page for our latest movie reviews and recommendations.

Highlights

It’ll Have You Ugly Cry

I was caught completely off guard. I’m thinking this is going to be some cute movie featuring the hijinks of getting odd imaginary friends some human partners, and while that is part of the movie, that isn’t the sum of it. A lot of it is about the fear and grief of being forgotten, feeling like you lost your purpose, and trying to manage knowing what it feels like to have a life that once had meaning.

I know this feels like a lot for a movie marketed towards kids, but “IF” might be the type of film that appeals to adults and kids. For the kids, they have Blue, who is this comical being that could come off as annoying but is generally sweet. Then you have Ryan Reynolds as Calvin, constantly exasperated by the hijinks he keeps getting involved in, but then there is the adult side of it.

Margaret, Bea’s grandmother, was a dancer, and because she got too tall and old, she figured no one would want to see her dance again. Bea, affected by her mother’s death, is trying to grow up quickly and steel herself up, so that she doesn’t show emotion and come off as childish or needy as her father preps for a major surgery. And the unexpected deeper themes go on and on, and it makes it so, as characters find themselves having to face their anxiety, vocalize how they feel, or set aside what others may think and just experience their joy, it is hard not to start crying, and continue crying until your nose starts to run and your throat hurts.

Ryan Reynolds and Cailey Fleming

While there is no denying Ryan Reynolds doesn’t necessarily push himself to be anything beyond a curmudgeon old man or a sarcastic one in a 40-something-year-old body, unlike many comedic actors, his shtick works because he makes an excellent scene partner. Whether an adult or a teenager like Cailey Fleming, he knows how to share the spotlight with his fellow actor.

Case in point, as Calvin, he is technically a supporting role since the sole thing Calvin does is help Bea as she seeks out humans for the imaginary friends. Which he does without there being any notable issues. He is sarcastic and grumpy; she rolls with it, and it leads to a handful of comical moments, which helps offset how often this film wants to make you cry to the point your throat hurts.

On The Fence

The Dead/Dying Parent Angle

To be honest with you, when the movie started off with Bea’s mother assumingly dying of cancer, I was ready to roll my eyes. Then throw in her dad being in the hospital for a heart condition? I knew either this was going for cheap sympathy by making a 12-year-old go through this or was going to have me end up in tears.

Now, as noted above, I ended up in tears, but part of what allowed that to happen was that Bea’s dad isn’t shown as sick, and as much as she says she isn’t a kid, she is protected as one. She doesn’t see him at his worst; he always stays jokey and jovial, and while that doesn’t take away from the mother being sacrificed to set up the story, at the very least, it seems killing her off wasn’t in vain.

Background Information

Film Length 1 Hour 44 Minutes
Date Released May 16, 2024
Distributor Paramount Pictures
Director(s) John Krasinski
Writer(s) John Krasinski
Based On Work By N/A
Genre(s) ComedyDramaFantasyYouth
Content Rating Rated PG
Content Information
Dialog N/A
Violence N/A
Sexual Content N/A
Miscellaneous N/A

Listed Under Categories: ,


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IF (2024) Review

Summary

While “IF” might hit a little too hard to be the blockbuster the box office desperately needs, there is no denying that writer/ director John Krasinski certainly crafted a film that didn’t just take advantage of its cast star power but utilized their talents to deliver an impactful movie.

Overall
84%
84%
  • It’ll Have You Ugly Cry - 89%
    89%
  • Ryan Reynolds and Cailey Fleming - 85%
    85%
  • The Dead/Dying Parent Angle - 78%
    78%
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User Review
0 (0 votes)

Highlight(s)

  • Ryan Reynolds and Cailey Fleming
  • It’ll Have You Ugly Cry

Disputable

  • The Dead/Dying Parent Angle

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