Did you ever wonder how Daniel Radcliffe, cherished actor who notoriously performed as the titular character of the Harry Potter series, would perform in a RomCom? I admittedly had never seen Radcliffe act in anything other than Harry Potter, so I was interested to see how he broke away from the magical world and into a role as a lovelorn fellow in the modern age.
What if is the story of Wallace (Radcliffe) who has sworn off love after being burned badly by previous relationships. When we meet Wallace he is a medical school dropout and living in his sister’s attic, woefully coasting through life. Seemingly everyone else around him is finding love, even his careless best friend, Allan (played by Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ Adam Driver) who meets his near-future wife at his own party. It is that same party where Wallace meets Chantry (played by Zoe Kazan). It is awkward wittiness at first sight and they quickly secure a friendship.
Chantry is Wallace’s quirky counterpart, right down to her name. She is the vision of the cool girl whose style and job as an animator makes her uniquely interesting. But she seems to be the perfect contrast to Wallace’s gloom. Upon bonding he instantly brightens and his only woes are how to navigate this new friendship while staying within the lines of being “just friends.” Chantry lives with her boyfriend but after he leaves for a six month overseas work assignment, the two friends struggle to keep that status clearly defined.
Slightly predictable, What if is a lighthearted movie that centers around that unspoken question of “What if there’s someone out there for me?” and “What if that person is right in front of me?” It explores the lengths one would go to find happiness. I also enjoyed the fact that Radcliffe kept his natural accent; had he fashioned an American (or Canadian, as the movie is set in Toronto) accent I would have been distracted from the entertaining performance he gave. I did not think about Hermione or Ron once while watching this film.
If you enjoy this movie, you will enjoy Ruby Sparks also starring Zoe Kazan.