Film Review: What If

Daniel Radcliffe and Zoe Kazan star in What If. Image Credit: CBS Films

Daniel Radcliffe and Zoe Kazan star in What If. Image Credit: CBS Films

Move over Hugh Grant, Daniel Radcliffe is in town…

If you’re looking for a charming, witty and lighthearted film to fall in love with this summer, check out Daniel Radcliffe’s new romantic-comedy What If.

Originally titled The F Word, What If tells the story of Wallace (Daniel Radcliffe), a medical school dropout who falls in love with his best friend.

Emotionally fragile after a string of failed relationships, Wallace decides to put his love life on hold until he meet Chantry (Zoe Kazan) at a friend’s party. The pair form an instant connection but when Wallace discovers that Chantry is in a long-term relationship with her boyfriend Ben (Rafe Spall), their relationship is firmly stuck in the “friend zone”.

Cue a series of will-they, won’t-they scenarios, from a near kiss in a shop dressing-room to a night of communal skinny-dipping under the stars, all of which lead the pair to wonder, what if the love of your life is actually your best friend?

Funny, charming and brutally honest, What If is a likeable story of friendship and romance that has been described as a modern day version of When Harry Met Sally. The film repetitiously poses the question about whether a man and a woman can be truly friends without benefits and is a worthy follow-up for GOON director Michael Dowse.

Daniel Radcliffe plays the role of the pale, polite and self-effacing Wallace well. His funny and heart-warming performance is capable of rivalling Hugh Grant as Britain’s favourite bumbling Brit. Radcliffe’s chemistry with Zoe Kazan (who plays Chantry) is also refreshingly natural. Casey Affleck was originally attached to play the lead but Radcliffe has proved himself as a worthy replacement.

Overall, the film has been positively received by the press. Empire called it “likable and well-cast” while The Hollywood Reporter praised Radcliffe’s performance saying the film would “help moviegoers move on from seeing co-star Daniel Radcliffe only as the world’s favourite wizard”. The film was a nominee for Best Picture at the 2nd Canadian Screen Awards, and won for Adapted Screenplay.

Likeable, fun and charming, What If is everything you expect from a rom-com. Expect this crowd-pleaser to be the romantic-comedy film of the summer.

3 out of 5 stars

What If is on general release in UK cinemas from August 22, 2014