Sunday, 14 December 2014

What If Review

In What If, Wallace a medical drop out who one night meets Chantry a young women in a long term relationship. Upon finding this out he is Chantry gives him her number which he later disposes of uninterested in 'just' a friendship. But of course as this is through and through a romantic one night soon thereafter they both once again meet in a chance encounter and from their the friendship blossoms and the two slowly become more aware of one another feelings towards each other.

If this sound awfully familiar, it is because the film follows the structure of a romantic comedy to a fault. However the reason to see What If is not its structure, rather it is the two leads Daniel Radcliffe as Wallace and Zoe Kazan as Chantry. Both deliver strong, credible performances and share a degree of chemistry that is rare to see in films, especially those in the romcom genre. The comedy and wit on display is likewise surprisingly potent and fells like it comes naturally from the characters involved instead of simply being forced into the film in an attempt to bring life to the film as is so often the case in films like this.

Unfortunately What If does end with one or two completely unnecessary scenes which weighs the film down and takes away from the core strength of the film. At times moving the film into eye roll inducing clear romcom territory as if any nuance or ambiguity would be a crime. I will note that this is a review of the US release which features several minutes of cut footage and apparently the final scenes present here are not present in the uk release. These differences would likely remove the largest and only real issues I had with What If.

At a glance What If could easily be mistaken for an entirely unremarkable film. It follows the structure of a romantic comedy to a fault (especially in the final scenes). It however is able to rise above its structure with its remarkable performances and chemistry between the two leads along with its witty and unforced humour. Whilst I would recommend those interested waiting for the UK release which is uncut and apparently features a different ending, the US release of What If still comes highly recommended.

Note: As is unfortunately a frequent occurrence I would recommend avoiding the trailers for this film as it spoils several key points.

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