By Monica Sabella, Arts & Entertainment Editor
So, what if Daniel Radcliffe played a character other than Harry Potter, one you might remember? What if he played opposite Zoe Kazan in a romantic comedy? What if it was really good?
Seconds after the trailer for the film What If came to a close, thousands of questions erupted in my mind. Honestly, it intrigued me. I couldn’t get it out of my head. Could Daniel Radcliffe pull it off? Our childhood protagonist; Harry? Romantic?
The last time I saw Radcliffe, he was stuck in a haunted house in the middle of nowhere surrounded by creepy useless townspeople (Woman in Black). I had high hopes for that movie, too, and they were irrevocably crushed. So it was with a tentative heart that I bought a ticket and sat down to watch this film.
If you are not familiar with the storyline, Wallace (Radcliffe) is a dropout med student, and quite cynical about love after his girlfriend cheats on him with their professor.
The story begins a few months following this incident; he is depressed and having trouble moving on. To help him out, his best friend, Allen (Adam Driver), throws a party and introduces Wallace to his cousin Chantry (Kazan). The two get along famously and talk the night away. Wallace likes Chantry and thinks this may be his chance to start again, so he asks, albeit awkwardly, if she’d like to hang out again sometime. Chantry answers that she’d love to and is sure her boyfriend won’t mind.
The film picks up from there. Wallace decides to call her and resolves to remain neutral; an adult man and woman can be friends without forming romantic feelings for each other, right? I think Wallace needs to watch When Harry Met Sally.
I truly enjoyed this movie. Though the humor was a little off center, quirky and crude, every now and then, there was real chemistry on screen between Radcliffe and Kazan.
What’s especially unique about this movie is its incorporation of art throughout the film. From the very beginning, small sketches from Chantry’s drawing table can be seen to come alive, offering an interesting transition between scenes.
I, at first, thought it was strange to throw cartoon illustrations into a film like this, but as they are supposed to be Chantry’s, it helps to keep the audience clued in to her hidden and steadily growing feelings for Wallace. And by the end of the film, I was comfortable with it. In fact, the animation and general flow of the movie reminded me a lot of Juno, a very popular movie which also has its own quirkiness about it.
Another good point towards this film is that I was seriously invested in the fate of these characters’ romance. It was actually a very good romantic comedy.
I read an article recently in the Detroit Free Press stating that compared to the 90’s there has been a drastic drop in the rom-com genre. Think about it for a minute. When was the last time you actually saw one that was good?
Check it out–the majority of films coming out these days are superhero, drama, action, sci-fi, or straight up comedy. There haven’t been any memorable romantic comedies since Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks.
Any recent additions to this genre blend into one tangle of predictable story lines. So, appears that this original twist on the romance is a white heron in more ways than one.
There are so many good reasons to give it a try. When I was sitting in the audience, the atmosphere was so different from the usual theater experience. Everyone was relaxed and seemed to be really into the film. They laughed at the jokes, commented quietly at the overly tender scenes, and were absolutely silent during the intense sequences. Mine was a great crowd, no doubt, but I attribute it to this film.
Whether or not it’ll strum those heart strings of yours is hard to say. What If did it for me. It was funny and cute and in my opinion, it made the cut. But don’t believe me, go see it. If nothing else, it’ll make for a nice day out.