What If continues the rom-com theory exploring the nature of the relationship between men and women and the “f” word… yes, friendship. Daniel Radcliffe stars as Wallace, a man coming off a terrible break-up who thinks that the word love should be equated with pain.
Zoe Kazan is Chantry, a woman who is happy in her long-term relationship with her live-in love, Ben (Rafe Spall).
Chantry and Wallace meet at a party given by his best friend and her cousin, Allan (Adam Driver, soon to be seen in Star Wars: Episode VII). They have great conversation and decide to hang out more as friends. You know, because of that boyfriend thing.
The chemistry between Kazan and Radcliffe is quite electric, even seen in the What If trailer. And they are largely why this formulaic film works. There really is not too much new ground that What If forges with its questions about whether men and women can be friends. But, the thing here is… the wrong question is being asked.
The better thing to wonder here is if men and women can be friends when the woman makes it clear that’s all she wants and the man knows that, and still proceeds to fall for her.
Michael Dowse directs this for the most part charming film from a screenplay by Elan Mastai. And it’s immediately clear that What If is based on a play, written by T.J. Dawe and Michael Rinaldi.
It just has that intimate feel that stage productions have and that is, honestly, one of the best things about this rom-com. Another stage play aspect is that all the characters, especially the periphery ones, are so fully developed. These are not cardboard cut-outs and that is what elevates what could be an average rom-com into the above average level.
And then there’s Radcliffe and Kazan. We truly pull for these two to get together because they are just so bloody cute. Their banter is beautiful. The chemistry is electric and yet, complicated.
We are also just so impressed with Radcliffe. He is making some fantastic choices, post-Harry Potter. Whether dark and gloomy (The Woman in Black and what you see in this Horns trailer), cerebral (Kill Your Darlings) or light as a feather (What If), the former Boy Who Lived is truly setting himself on a path for an acting career that will surely mirror some of the great classic British actors that clearly inspire him before he is done.
Our What If review finds that although the film does not really chart new ground, it still is quite charming.
And to see where we first met this talent of an actor, watch Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone online.