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Twenty-something medical school drop-out Wallace (Daniel Radcliffe) and animator Chantry (Zoe Kazan) serendipitously meet while assembling fridge magnet poetry at a party.

 

There seems to be an instant connection between them, hampered only by the fact that Chantry has a boyfriend. But that doesn't matter because decide to officially become friends. The best of friends, in fact. From past relationships to Elvis's eating habits, no topic is off the table as their bond grows.

 

Chantry's long-term boyfriend Ben (Rafe Spall) is immediately guarded about the introduction of her new friend, giving him a "man-to-man" talk in the kitchen while brandishing a kitchen knife. Much of which is done for laughs, maintaining a sweet and jovial tone throughout the film. Wallace remains quite the gentleman, determined to make the platonic friendship work. Along the way he obtains not-so-useful, but always entertaining guidance from best friend Allan (Adam Driver).

 

Breaking the mould of sugar-coated romantic comedies, the tone is more akin to 500 Days of Summer. As the tension and chemistry subtly sizzles, it's apparent how charming the young stars are. Daniel Radcliffe continues to show great range in his varied projects of late. Zoe Kazan is definitely one to watch too, delivering a sweet and endearing performance. There are also fun little animations throughout, as Chantry's artwork comes to life as an extension of their subconscious thoughts.

 

While the final act does veer into cliché territory with a tried and tested rom-com trope, it thankfully never loses its charm. Otherwise refreshingly unpredictable, Wallace and Chantry could well be the greatest will they / won't get relationship since Ross and Rachel.

 

'What If' is a genuine delight, full of warmth, laughter and exploring the age old question of can people of the opposite sex be just friends. (In case you were wondering, yes they can.)

 

 

 

 

 

What If  - UK Press Conference

 

Review by: Sarah O'Connell

Review Date: 22nd August 2014

What If Review

4

Rating out of 5:

Review Format:

Cinema

What If poster