25 May 2024

IF is just The Sixth Sense for children

| Jarryd Rowley
Start the conversation

John Krasinski, aka Jim from the Office, returns to the director’s chair for the third time in his new movie IF. Photo: Paramount.

Tell me if you’ve heard this one before.

A struggling child with visions of people only they can see gets a visit from a man who looks to help the child understand what they are seeing.

Their visions turn out not to be visions but invisible beings looking to be finally put at ease.

If upon reading that you thought, ‘why is he reviewing The Sixth Sense, that movie is 25 years old?’ you’d be justified.

But alas, instead I’ll be focusing on John Krasinski’s newest film IF starring Ryan Reynolds, Steve Carell, Pheobe Waller-Bridge and many more.

READ ALSO Hail Caesar! Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes proves apes are stronger together

In IF, we follow a young girl named Bea. Her father is in hospital for surgery and she is now living with her grandmother while his procedure is being completed.

During her time away, similarly to Haley Joel Osment in The Sixth Sense, Bea begins to see beings that others can’t. Unlike Osment, Bea doesn’t see dead people but forgotten imaginary friends or IFs.

Bea soon meets Cal [Ryan Reynolds] another person who can see imaginary friends. Together the pair take off on an adventure to find new kids for the forgotten friends to play with.

With the premise out of the way, I just want to emphasise that this movie is weird – not just in plot but in pacing and direction as well.

It’s advertised as a children’s movie and a lot of it is, yet there are some truly sombre motifs and undertones like regret and anxiety that drag this movie.

The imaginary friends themselves are super creative but only two or three are given any real motivation or character.

Ryan Reynolds is supposed to deliver the exposition about everything that’s going on, but his character also doesn’t care for anything going on.

The pacing moves incredibly slow for the first act despite the story’s progression not being super clear. Aside from our time with Bea, we don’t learn anything about anybody.

Then, for the final act, it shoots into overdrive and rushes to put everybody in the right spot for the emotional climax.

It’s similar to Isaac Newton’s third law of motion, for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. For every positive I have, there’s an equal negative.

That also accurately conveys my feelings towards the film. The things I didn’t like (the pacing, the gloominess and the lack of interesting characters) are equalled by the things I did like (the creativity of character designs, the underlying message of hope and the more personal moments).

READ ALSO Ryan Gosling proves he’s not just Ken in The Fall Guy

At first, I was confused by the ‘all over the place’ nature of the film. Once I learnt it was the third film that John Krasinski had ever directed (after the first two Quiet Place movies) and his first with a budget over $100 million, it made a bit more sense.

In the hands of a more experienced director like Paul King, who directed the Paddington movies and Wonka, I think this movie would have been a lot tighter and a lot more focused.

Other critics have been mixed about this film as well, and justifiably so. I think we need more family movies like it, but it could do with another draft or two of the script.

Hopefully, this doesn’t deter Krasinski in the future and instead improves his overall filmmaking. He’s proved he can deliver an original concept hit but IF wasn’t quite it.

IF is currently showing in cinemas across the country.

Start the conversation

Daily Digest

Want the best Canberra news delivered daily? Every day we package the most popular Riotact stories and send them straight to your inbox. Sign-up now for trusted local news that will never be behind a paywall.

By submitting your email address you are agreeing to Region Group's terms and conditions and privacy policy.