The John Krasinski-directed family fantasy-adventure movie IF hits theaters this weekend, and the story of imaginary friends and rediscovering one’s wonder is great for all ages. Starring Ryan Reynolds as Cal, a man who can see people’s imaginary friends and discovers his young neighbor, Bea (Cailey Fleming), can also see them too, the pair embark on an adventure to unite the imaginary friends – called IFs – with new kids.

The story is full of whimsy and wonder, and with a PG rating, it’s suitable for just about any age. Read on to find out what critics are saying about IF.

Boston Globe

“IF” is nonetheless an enjoyable watch, and a surprisingly gentle one, despite its bumbling cast of fiends, rascals, and other overlooked creatures. The life lesson it ends on is a familiar one, and the dialogue between Bea and other real-world characters tends toward the obvious. But among the IFs the movie slants toward something fresher — if not absolute originality, then at least a dash of imagination.

Movie Mom

The title “IF” mostly stands for “Invisible Friend,” but also a little bit stands for the word we use to conjure up infinite possibilities. The world Krasinski has conjured up here is beguiling, with a handmade, retro feel. The Paramount logo at the beginning looks like a child’s finger-painting and the movie itself is a smudgy valentine, all heart, whimsy, and charm. If the message is a bit messy and the logic not quite sound, for me that was more than made up for by the tenderness.


IF, short for imaginary friends, tugs mightily on your heartstrings. John Krasinksi, who pulls quadruple duty as writer, director, producer, and co-star, wants to squeeze your eyeballs for buckets of tears. He accomplishes that goal but, thankfully, gets an equal number of big laughs in a wonderful second act. There are a few narrative bumps. A huge reveal is evident from the start. It’s another case of waiting for a film to deliver something the audience is keenly aware of. That’s not a deal-breaker with stunning visual effects and engaging lead performances.

The Guardian

For a film that very much bills itself as a comedy, particularly through the lovable and literally bumbling character of Blue, If is fairly short on actual laughs. Instead, it settles by the end into misty-eyed, mostly earned sweetness, with the evergreen lesson of remembering love and playfulness as you grow up. Bells and whistles and imaginary friends aside, it’s that message of the inner child that’s ultimately essential – and If channels just enough of it for this viewer to, at least for a few moments, remember hers.


What the movie lacks in clarity, it makes up for in heart. The good news? Your kids probably won’t notice the flaws and you’ll be too busy shedding a tear to start poking holes in the plot. The film does a good job of reminding its audience that there’s a kid in all of us, and that time can never truly take away your imagination. It’s been a while since I looked around in a theater and saw multiple grown men shedding a tear. Krasinski knows how to appeal to parents, especially dads. 

While IF may not be a perfectly pieced-together movie, there’s enough heart embedded in its core to make it a worthy trip to the cinema for families. The cast is delightful, the IFs are magical, and the warmth is undeniable.   

Overall, while IF may not have the simplest plot and is sometimes prone to schmaltz, the heartfelt whimsy and childlike wonder more than make up for any of its flaws.

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  • Editorial