A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that What If is a quirky romantic comedy -- starring Daniel Radcliffe and Zoe Kazan -- about the difficulty of being close platonic friends with someone of the opposite sex. The twentysomething romcom is best for mature teens who understand the idea of romantic tension between friends. Expect a lot of sexual references and shots of people kissing, making out, and even seeing each other naked (there's partial nudity during a skinny-dipping scene) for the first time. Language is fairly frequent; there's one "f--k," as well as "s--t" and "a--hole." Fans of movies like Like Crazy, Crazy, Stupid Love, and One Day will be smitten with this tale of true love in your twenties.
- Parents say
- Kids say
Remarkable Actors especially Zoe Kazan and Daniel Radcliffe ...Nicely done with a very nice story..Love the way you people acted.... AWESOME FILM
What's the story?
In WHAT IF, Wallace (Daniel Radcliffe) is a recent Toronto med school dropout getting over a cheating ex. He shows up at his college roommate Allan's (Adam Driver) house party, where he meets a beautiful and funny woman who turns out to be Allan's cousin Chantry (Zoe Kazan). Just when Wallace thinks they have a spark, she casually mentions that she has a live-in boyfriend. After bumping into each other again, Chantry convinces Wallace to have a platonic friendship, since they have so much in common. Dozens of conversations, emails, and outings later, Wallace meets the boyfriend, Ben (Rafe Spall), who secretly threatens him if it turns out that Wallace wants more than friendship. As their relationship continues to grow, Wallace must deal with his increasingly romantic feelings toward Chantry, who seems to think she can manage being "just friends" without wanting more.
Is it any good?
This hopeful love story about friendship being an ideal cornerstone for any epic romance makes for an enchanting indie romcom. A direct cinematic descendant of When Harry Met Sally, What If (or The F Word, as it's titled in Canada) explores the age-old question of whether men and women can be close, even best, friends without sexual tension getting in the way. Of course, the answer is usually no, but that doesn't mean Canadian director Michael Dowse doesn't make this a charming and occasionally unpredictable little love story about friends who really, really try to keep things in the "friends zone" but ultimately can't deny that their connection is more than they can bear.
Driver (who's playing a more commitment-ready variation of his Girls character) and his PDA-happy girlfriend-turned-wife Nicole (stunner Mackenzie Davis) are perfectly cast as a passionate new couple who do their best to force Wallace to admit his feelings to Chantry, but Wallace would rather suffer in silence than ruin his genuinely deep friendship. Radcliffe and Kazan are almost too adorable and charming and share a palpable chemistry that makes their connection easy to believe. The beautiful indie soundtrack (lots of Patrick Watson and Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros) provides a lovely accompaniment to the story, which takes melancholy turns. The script, based on a play, doesn't let Chantry or Wallace off the hook for thinking they could be fair to her boyfriend if they kept their own attachment going.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the popularity of the friends-to-more storyline. Why is that such a beloved plot in love stories? Do you agree that it's hard for men and women to be "just" friends?
Do you agree with Wallace's idea that a relationship that starts "dirty" -- with someone cheating -- is likely to end that way as well?
- In theaters: August 8, 2014
- On DVD or streaming: November 25, 2014
- Cast: Daniel Radcliffe, Zoe Kazan, Adam Driver
- Director: Michael Dowse
- Studio: CBS Films
- Genre: Comedy
- Topics: Friendship
- Run time: 102 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG-13
- MPAA explanation: sexual content including references throughout, partial nudity and language
- Last updated: April 23, 2020
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