What If

500 Days Of Film Reviews Rom Com, What If, Starring Daniel Radcliffe, Zoe Kazan, Rafe Spall and Adam Driver


Nursing a broken heart, Wallace (Daniel Radcliffe) reluctantly attends a party thrown by his best friend, Allan (Adam Driver). 


While lurking in the kitchen creating poems out of fridge magnet words, he meets Chantry (Zoe Kazan).


The two feel an instant connection. However, Chantry is in a long-term relationship with a man called Ben (Rafe Spall).


So Wallace settles for friendship - all the while secretly hoping that Chantry will, somehow, someday, fall in love with him.

Is It Any Good?

What If, was released in cinemas in 2013. However, director Michael Dowse’s film completely escaped me until this year when I discovered it whilst searching for romantic movies for a Valentine’s day inspired post (Top 50 Romantic Movies). 


What If was, for me, such a surprise. It is charming and funny, sweet and self aware. Plus, within the first few minutes, it references two of my favourite movies - The Thing and The Princess Bride.


More than enough to get me hooked. 


What If is (at the time of writing) available on Amazon Prime Video and I would really recommend that you give it a watch. After all, precious few romantic comedies manage to hit both the romantic and comedy mark.  



Of course, a film exploring whether a man and a woman can be friends is straying into dangerous territory. The last thing a rom com wants to do is find itself compared to the mighty When Harry Met Sally. That never bodes well.


However, What If tackles this comparison head on and, for the most part, manages to subvert many of the cliches typically found in romantic comedies.


In addition, the movie’s script (written by Elan Mastai and based on TJ Dawe and Mike Rinaldi’s play Toothpaste and Cigars) has enough zingy observations to keep What If safe from those Nora Ephron correlations.   



The casting of What If is another saving grace. The movie is predominantly focused on Wallace and Radcliffe gives a really charming and sensitive performance. Meanwhile, Kazan (no stranger to quirky rom com roles) is sweet and vulnerable as Chantry.


Saving What If from sliding into cutesy overload, is Wallace’s friend Allan. Reminding me of a slightly sanitized version of Adam Sackler (his character in TV show, Girls), Adam Driver is wonderful in this role. He steals every scene and has perfect comic timing.


Rafe Spall (once again) works wonders with a character that might, in lesser hands, have become rather two-dimensional and forgettable. 


What If isn't perfect (and its ending won't really surprise anyone), however, I really enjoyed this movie and would highly recommend it if you fancy a charming and remarkably funny romantic comedy.


Random Observations

What If was rated 15 by the BBFC and features several moments of “crude sex references”,  infrequent strong language and some “buttock nudity” (snigger).

Nothing to frighten the horses, mind, but this is not a movie to watch with youngsters around.


Have you seen What If?


If you have, what did you think of this romantic comedy? Let me know… leave me a comment in the box below!


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Jane Douglas-Jones
Jane Douglas-Jones

E: jane@500daysoffilm.com


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