Starring Daniel Radcliffe, Zoe Kazan
Directed by Michael Dowse
“What If” is the perfect millennial movie. It’s kind of a romantic comedy, but it’s not. It takes on the friend zone in a very honest and real way, which is refreshing but heart-wrenching and frustrating. For anyone who has been in the so-called friend zone, this movie is a great conversation starter.
Daniel Radcliffe plays Wallace, a guy without much to show for himself. He’s in his mid-20’s, presumably, and is living in his sister’s attic while pining for his ex-girlfriend, who cheated on him a year ago. And did we mention he dropped out of med school?
Enter Chantry, an awkward lady with an adorable wardrobe. Chantry is played by Zoe Kazan, a “less annoying Zooey Deschanel,” according to the guy sitting next to me. He’s not wrong, either. Chantry is quirky in every sense of the word.
She is a graphic designer that loves a good poop joke and doesn’t mind flirting the night away with Wallace when they meet at a party. At the end of the night she reveals she has a live-in boyfriend, but gives Wallace her number anyway.
The pair become close friends but struggle with the awkwardness of being two young, attractive adults that don’t know where the boundaries of friendship lie. This is where anyone and everyone watching the film can inject their own personal anecdotes about dating and how things have either gone right or wrong for them.
Wallace and Chantry’s story is all too familiar in the very grey world we live in, where no one is married and children are not yet involved. You get a good idea of who Wallace and Chantry are, so it is interesting to see them go about their odd relationship together.
Chantry’s boyfriend, Ben, is always a looming figure in their friendship and the film makes it very awkward for everyone involved, including the audience.
The lone voice of reason in the film is Wallace’s roommate, Allan, played by “Girls’” Adam Driver. Allan has never had a problem picking up women and advises Wallace along his path of known destruction, even when his solid advice goes in one ear and out the other.
The film is set in Toronto, which is one of the best parts of the film. Wallace and Chantry gallivant throughout the city and go on plenty of wonderful outings and share really beautiful moments together in their little bubble where nothing else seems to matter.
However, the outside world demands to be dealt with and the two have to face the facts about themselves and what they mean to each other. In the real world, this is when things get real and people get hurt. In fiction, this is where Radcliff solidifies the fandom of every “Harry Potter” fan in their 20’s.