Finding your Imaginary Friend with IF

In 2015’s Inside Out we saw what happens when an imaginary friend is completely forgotten. Seeing the slow fade of Bing-Bong was one of the saddest moments on film and it is slightly referenced in one scene in IF. As Calvin, Bea, and Blue are walking on the New York City streets, Blue says “Am I disappearing?” after a failed attempt to reconnect with their child who is now an adult. IF shows us that imaginary friends will always be around for us no matter how old we get.

In a beginning that is almost the same amount of hurt as the beginning of Up, IF gives us an emotional roller coaster within the first 15 minutes. It felt reminiscent of the beginning of Wonder Park but did not have a happy ending like that movie. Though nothing is stated we can conclude that Bea’s mother has passed and she is returning to her home with her grandmother. It is never really told how where she was but Bea is back to visit her father who is in the hospital. Bea, played by Cailey Fleming, has grown up a little too fast due to her mother’s passing and it seems like she is at the doorway to losing her dad.

Ryan Reynolds and Cailey Fleming star in Paramount Pictures’ “IF.”

When we meet Dad, played by John Krasinski, he is silly, makes jokes about his situation, and always has a smile on his face. I love that dad is portrayed like this and not monotonous or clueless like most dads are portrayed in movies. Even in his condition, Dad always looks at the bright side of things and makes a joke to lift the brevity of the situation. My daughter did say that he reminded her of myself, so that is a plus. Janet, played by Liza Colón-Zayas, is the nurse who takes care of Dad and as silly as Dad is, you can tell it makes Janet’s day a lot easier.

Where IF really shines is when Bea starts to interact with the IFs (Imaginary Friends) and decides to help Calvin, played by Ryan Reynolds, in finding a kid for the IFs that do not have any. Calvin reluctantly accepts Bea’s help and we are introduced to all of the IFs looking for a new kid. This scene alone is fantastic as we see the wide range of characters and learn a little about them. Bea makes it her mission to make sure that the IFs get a new kid to be with but as the movie progresses we see that it is not kids that need their imaginary friends back.

As many probably felt the hurt when Bing-Bong disappeared, adults everywhere probably wished that they still kept that childhood version of them still inside of them. IF, in its charmful way, lets the adults in the theater know that it is ok to keep hold of your imaginary friends. The movie lets us know that there will be moments in our lives when we need that friend to help us and support us in a tough situation. The movie shows us this in a touching scene with Bobby Moynihan and with Bea’s grandmother, played by Fiona Shaw.

L-r, George Clooney (Spaceman), Amy Schumer (Gummy Bear), Emily Blunt (Unicorn), Steve Carell (Blue), Flower, Cailey Fleming (Bea), Phoebe Waller-Bridge (Blossom), Richard Jenkins (Art Teacher) and Maya Rudolph (Ally) star in Paramount Pictures’ “IF.”

These two scenes alone will have you tearing up and thinking about the last time you played with your imaginary friend. While we see Bea helping the IFs find their purpose again, she slowly starts to find hers too. As I mentioned earlier, Bea has grown up a little too fast due to her parent’s situations and that has affected her relationship with her imagination. I will say no more because you will need to see the movie to see how it all wraps up.

Watch us as a question to John Krasinski during the IF press junket.

Final Thoughts: IF is the type of movie that comes around once in a great while that makes everyone who watches it feel good. Although it seems like it is a movie geared towards kids, it is also great for parents. Wonderment is something that we all sadly lose as we get older and IF shows us that we can find it again. The movie does hit you in the feels within the first 15 minutes but it is essential to go on this emotional ride with Bea and her father.

Kid-Friendly: The movie is very kid-friendly and will hopefully have them thinking about their imaginary friends again. Some great conversations can come out of this as kids can talk to parents about their imaginary friends and vice-versa.

Violence: There is no violence in the movie. There is some slapstick humor with Calvin’s character and pratfalls but nothing too violent.

From writer and director John Krasinski, IF is about a girl who discovers that she can see everyone’s imaginary friends — and what she does with that superpower — as she embarks on a magical adventure to reconnect forgotten IFs with their kids. IF stars Cailey Fleming, Ryan Reynolds, John Krasinski, Fiona Shaw, and the voices of Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Louis Gossett Jr. and Steve Carell alongside many more as the wonderfully unique characters that reflect the incredible power of a child’s imagination.

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