Friday, May 17, 2024


Fantastic family entertainment the likes of which we don't see much anymore. Hilarious and heartfelt and genuine, oh my! Made for those who have ever wondered what a live action Pixar film would be like.

Rated PG for thematic elements and mild language.


In a film landscape littered with intellectual property (IP) these days, it’s a wonder John Krasinski was able to get IF made at all. Considering he also helped create the A Quiet Place franchise for Paramount Pictures, it probably helped him get the greenlight for this ambitious project. Expertly straddling the thin line between sentimental and saccharine, Krasinski pulls off the rare feat of crafting one of the most genuine family films in years. As with any film in this category, it has something for everyone, with plenty for parents in the audience, along with the requisite silliness for the kiddies.

Bea (Cailey Fleming) is 12 years old and has just moved into her grandma Margaret’s (Fiona Shaw) apartment because Bea’s Dad (Krasinski) is in the hospital waiting to undergo heart surgery. Unfortunately for all of them, it’s the same hospital where Bea’s Mom (Catharine Daddario) was taken from them by cancer. After discovering her mom’s old camcorder, she heads out to buy a charger where she stumbles upon a strange creature which she follows back to her grandma’s building.

Soon enough, she learns that the creature is a long lost imaginary friend named Blossom (voiced by Phoebe Waller-Bridge) who lives with a man named Cal (Ryan Reynolds). Due to Bea being able to see them—along with other forgotten IFs including the giant purple fuzzy Blue (voiced by Steve Carell)—she is swept off to Memory Lane Retirement Community where a plan is hatched to match up the rest of the IFs with new kids. However, after their scheme takes a turn, they set out on a new, and far more personal, mission.

If there’s one thing Krasinski excels at most, it’s onscreen family dynamics and working with young actors. After giving us two fantastic performances from Millicent Simmonds in the Quiet Place films, he’s found another star in the making with Fleming. Playing the wise-beyond-her-years Bea, she’s able to jump back and forth between childish exuberance and a growing-up-too-fast tween at the drop of a hat. I’m sure working alongside Reynolds just makes it even easier considering he’s capable of the exact same thing. The two are fantastic together and make one of the year’s best duos.

Not to say that they’re the only ones having fun. Carell gets to ham it up vocally—think exaggerated version of “Sulley” from Monsters, Inc.—while Waller-Bridge gets to show a more charming side to her personality. Something we’ve only gotten glimpses of in her hilariously pessimistic starring roles. And Krasinski lets himself stay in overgrown child mode as Bea’s dad in spite of the health predicament he’s in. Krasinski never downplays his character’s health, or talks down to the audience, and even has a very authentic heart-to-heart with Bea about how life doesn’t always have to be fun and that’s okay.

Krasinksi brings along a star-studded list of cameo voice actors, something that’s way more fun to discover on your own watching the film than listing them all here. Although it does add an extra dash of sentiment to hear the recently passed Louis Gossett Jr. one more time. There’s also wonderful cinematography, not surprising with Janusz Kaminski behind the camera, and another weap-inducing earworm score from Michael Giacchino.

Everything comes together in a fantastic package that parents and kids should both love and be able to rewatch. But a theater is always a fun place to share the experience with them, and this is the kind of crowd-pleaser that we’ve been missing even if IF may unfortunately go underseen. As long as Krasinski keeps managing to give us such great—and drastically different—films, hopefully he has plenty more stories to share.

4 1/2 out of 5

blog comments powered by Disqus