|The Frankfurt-Tipp rating:|
|Original title:||What if|
|Production country:||Irland/Kanada 2014|
|Running time:||Approx. 98 min.|
Wallace (Daniel Radcliffe) is a true romantic. So it's no wonder that breaking up with his girlfriend has broken his heart to such an extent that he's dropped out of medical school and also completely cut himself off from his social circle. He'd much rather spend his nights sadly watching the starry skies over Toronto. But when he is persuaded to go to a party, he quickly discovers that it is well worth going out among people. That's because he meets charming animator Chantry (Zoe Kazan), who is right on his wavelength. Sparks fly between the two and Wallace is immediately on fire. But unfortunately, Chantry is already taken and just wants to be friends with Wallace. That seems like a good alternative, at least at first. But unfortunately Wallace doesn't manage to suppress his true feelings for long - and the emotional chaos is pre-programmed...
The story Michael Dowse tells in The F-Word is now really anything but new. This modern Harry and Sally variation offers hardly any surprises and its outcome is probably predictable from the first minute for every viewer who has ever seen a romantic comedy in his life. And yet, especially in the first hour, the film feels delightfully fresh and extremely charming. This begins with the visual language, which at times makes use of endearing animations and at other moments comes across as a wonderful declaration of love for the Canadian metropolis of Toronto. In many scenes, the city acts as a third main character, as important to the story as Wallace and Chantry.
Which brings us to the cast. It was certainly a gamble to cast the role of Wallace with Daniel Radcliffe, who despite being cast in a number of roles against his image, is still very much associated with the character of Harry Potter. Seeing him as a romantic hero is likely to be difficult for some viewers. Dowse may have been aware that there will be at least one jokester in every performance who won't be able to resist a wand joke. But the fact that he took the risk pays off in the end. Because Radcliffe's portrayal of the hopeless romantic is not only extremely likable, but also extremely funny at the right moments. In the best slapstick manner, he causes what is probably the funniest window fall in recent cinema history and also does really well in his humorous dialogue duels with Zoe Kazan.
In any case, the chemistry between him and Kazan is perfect. From the very first moment, you as a viewer take it from the two of them that they have something very special in common. And of course you wish them to get together. However, the way to get there becomes very conventional in the last third of the movie at the latest. The dialogues, which are still really sparkling and clever at the beginning, get more and more lost in trivialities. And also the dramaturgy itself winds rather ponderously to the inevitable happy end. The likeable cast, which also includes the always reliable Adam Driver (Girls, Inside Llewyn Davis) and Mackenzie Davis (Forever Single), make sure that the film is still very entertaining even in the more tame moments. But unfortunately, The F-Word can't quite live up to its promising beginning in the end.
Despite the rather weak and predictable ending, Michael Dowse has overall directed a very charming, funny and heartfelt romantic comedy that thrives on some very atmospheric images and the good actors. It certainly won't be a timeless cult film like its great role model Harry and Sally, but it's certainly enough for an enjoyable and relaxing visit to the cinema. Worth seeing
An article by Frankfurt-Tipp