Imagination and Memory Shine in John Krasinski’s “IF” | Review

You are never alone in life, nothing you love can be forgotten, and memories live forever in your heart: after "A Quiet Place", John Krasinski impresses once again
John Krasinski's "IF"



“What’s your name?” “My name is Blue,” responds the giant puppet to the little girl. Actually, it’s purple because the name was given years ago by a colorblind child. This large furry creature is primarily the product of John Krasinski’s imagination. And, let’s say it right away, the American director and actor has plenty of imagination considering that he comes from the two horror films of A Quiet Place and now gives us this family movie written and directed by himself, full of IFs, an acronym for Imaginary Friends. These friends also come from the imagination of Bea, the only one who can see them, an almost adult girl simply called Bi, as her mother used to call her, played by the talented and super expressive Calley Presley Fleming, best known for the TV series The Walking Dead.

There are many of them: some are as large and colorful as the aforementioned Blue who, staying on the topic of color blindness, could also be red since it vaguely resembles Red, the panda from Pixar-Disney’s latest animation, but also intensely pink like a distant Barbapapà or bluish like the more recent scarer Sulley from Monsters, Inc.; others are light and gentle like Blossom, reminiscent of Joy from Inside Out (incidentally, the music is by Michael Giacchino, composer of the Inside Out soundtrack and many other animated films), and some are invisible like the legendary Keith (voiced by Brad Pitt).

So, the physical and morphological similarities with the great animated films mentioned above are present, but there are also content similarities that peek through here and there. Therefore, we can certainly add Toy Story with its toys that come to life to the long list. This time, the toys, or rather the imaginary friends, are desperately seeking new children to be paired with and also have a strong desire to be remembered by the now-grown children. Bea, along with the funny Cal (played by Ryan Reynolds), will help them in their quest since the two will create a real placement office.

A bit sad is the premise (Bea is an orphan who has just moved to New York with her grandmother, played by Fiona Shaw, because her father – played by the director himself – is in the hospital and needs emergency heart surgery), at times nostalgic and melancholic (even adults cry, paradoxically more than children), but filled with humor (above all, Dr. Sunflower who holds a group psychoanalytic session with sad forgotten toys, the pantless banana that scares everyone, and the invisible Keith), plenty of imagination, emotions, and depth. You are never alone in life, nothing you love can be forgotten, and memories live forever in your heart.

The concepts are simple. Also easy to implement? Not quite. But the advice is never to lose imagination and to always remain a bit childlike. This hybrid film with mixed technique, partly animated and partly not, reminds us of this in a great way.

Giulia Lucchini

Cinematografo, May 21, 2024


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