Child’s perspective sets imagination free

Director: John Krasinski
Cast: Ryan Reynolds, John Krasinski, Cailey Fleming, Fiona Shaw, Alan King, Liza Colon-Zayas, Bobby Moynihan,
Voices: Steve Carell, Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Louis Gossett Jr, Emily Blunt, Matt Damon, Maya Rudolph, Jon Stewart
Rating: (PG) ★★★★
IF is a film on an extremely slow burn. We get plonked in the middle of the story and the basics of who and why never get addressed. It makes for a frustrating first hour for those of us who like a logical flow to our viewing experience. The other problem it seemed to have is that it actually does not feel that child friendly. I saw IF with a lot of children and there was much talking and fidgeting at the start, which seemed to foreshadow a disastrous trip to the cinema. Somehow, from an incredibly underwhelming beginning, IF actually knew what it was doing. It is told from a child’s perspective so all that boring background stuff that adults need to orientate themselves in a story gets ignored and once it unleashes the special effects the fidgeting evaporates. It then has the self confidence to pull a twist ending that demands a return for a second viewing to catch all the clues you missed the first time. IF actually stands for "imaginary friends" and it explores similar territory to Toy Story, what happens to imaginary friends when their child outgrows them. Bea (Cailey Fleming) is 12 and likes to assure her dad (John Krasinski) that she’s a grown up, but she has already faced one childhood trauma and it looks as if she is about to have another when her dad goes to hospital. She seems a prime candidate to have an imaginary friend but instead she meets a man, Cal (Ryan Reynolds), who runs a rehab for surplus imaginary friends.
By Christine Powley