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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
One of the messages is that it's tough for men and women to be platonic friends without sexual tension and chemistry. The other is that love is messy and doesn't always work out perfectly, but if you have something good, you have to hold onto to it to make it work.
Positive Role Models
Wallace and Chantry are genuinely likable characters who are good friends to each other and others. Allan and Nicole want the best for their friends and give decent advice.
Violence & Scariness
Comic violence includes a man accidentally pushing another man out of a window, leading to tears, confusion, and an ambulance visit to the ER. Later, an angry boyfriend punches a man he believes is sleeping with his girlfriend.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Partial nudity includes back shots of the leads running into the ocean to go skinny dipping. It's dark, so their bodies are shown mostly in silhouette, but the woman tells the man, "I'll look if you look." Nicole and Allan passionately make out in front of others, and in one scene, Allan exclaims that he just had sex and is about to have nachos. Lots of passionate and playful kissing scenes, a short-lived attempt at phone sex, and an awkward moment when a woman needs her male friend's help undressing.
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Fairly frequent strong language includes "a--hole," "bitch," "s--t," and one "f--k."
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Products & Purchases
Brands featured include Apple (MacBook, iPhone), Volkswagen, Pepsi, vintage Jeep Grand Cherokee, Air Canada, and the movie The Princess Bride.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Twentysomethings drink often (mostly wine and beer) in social situations: a party, dinner, a club, a camping trip. A couple of characters purposely get drunk to deal with a sad situation. A man deals with his first fight with his wife by drinking lots of beer and shouting insults at an elderly group of bocce players at the park.
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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. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
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.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.