Review by Edgar Torres
What If is the story of Wallace (Daniel Radcliffe) and Chantry (Zoe Kazan) who meet at house party. After a couple of sarcastic exchanges Wallace and Chantry leave the party together and end up living towards the same direction so they walk home together. Once at Chantry's house, they exchange good byes but not before Chantry gives Wallace her phone number while casually dropping the fact that she has a boyfriend. Wallace writes Chantry off as a failed attempt at romance and let's the wind carry her number away. They end up running into each other at a screening of The Princess Bride and end up agreeing to just be friends, although Wallace is more reluctant to the idea. As their friendship matures, however, it gets more difficult to keep their relationship platonic.
The biggest highlight of this movie was the chemistry between Radcliffe and Kazan. Part of the praise should go to the script, but there is also this inexplicable chemistry that pops out the screen when there is a good fit between actors. Adam Driver (Girls, Lincoln) plays Wallace's best friend Allan as well as Chantry's cousin and Mackenzie Davis (Halt and Catch Fire, That Awkward Moment) who is Allan's girlfriend Nicole also do a fantastic job as the supporting couple to Wallace and Chantry's relationship. Allan and Nicole represented the kind of couple who are outwardly passionate and sexual and they don't care what anyone has to say about them which was a direct and opposite comparison to the relationship Chantry and Wallace were having. The script itself was very well written, the interactions of all characters seemed very organic and it seemed like one could just pull them out of the screen and have a conversation with them. The pacing of the film was also very well done. I never stopped to think about when the movie was going to end or whether the scene dragged on a bit too much. The character choices were also very realistic. There are times in "romcoms" where character choices are overly dramatic, but this movie had one and that one choice seemed very justified because it was done by a man who was backed against a wall and felt like that was the only course of action.
There are some moments to this movie that felt unnecessary. There are moments when animation is added to the movie that adds this independent film feeling to it. Now, I know this film is an independent film, but I thought the days of adding little artsy moments to a film for the sake of making it feel independent were long gone. I should mention, however, that these moments didn't take away from the film, but rather enhanced it by letting us into the mind of Chantry to pick out her current condition.
I chose to watch this movie solely do to Daniel Radcliffe being in the film, but I walked out of the film being excited for the careers of all the young actors in the movie. I would not hesitate to watch this movie again if a friend was interested in watching it and I am definitely going to buy a hard copy when it comes out.