“What If”

Jake Tapley

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What-If-In the world of romantic guy-meets-girl flicks, “What If” is a breath of fresh air.

From director Michael Dowse comes a movie about love and relationships that feels fresh, honest and unique.

The film follows Wallace, a medical school drop-out who is heartbroken and bitter over his ex-girlfriend, who goes to a party where he meets Chantry, an animator with a long-time boyfriend who seems to have her life together.

Obviously, they hit it off but opt to only be friends. The question posed to the audience is, “How long can they remain ‘just friends?'”

The whole set-up sounds vaguely familiar and would fall into being a cliche if not for both the artistic and self-aware directorial style, as well as the script and character dialogue.

One thing that really makes “What If” stand out from other movies of its type is its humor executed through dialogue, which at times can be rather sarcastic and dark.

This helps establish character development and allows the audience to connect to the characters and their interactions.

Another thing that really elevates the film is its cast.

The four main actors are young and relatively unheard of — with the exclusion of Daniel Radcliffe, who will never escape the fame and cultural significance of his role as Harry Potter — yet their self-awareness and wit would lead you to believe otherwise.

Other lead role and co-star Zoe Kazan, who has found minor success in several lesser-known or independent movies, such as “Meek’s Cutoff,” “The Pretty One” and “Some Girls,” gets propelled to a level of stardom reminiscent of 2012’s “Ruby Sparks.”

Comic relief couple Adam Driver (of the TV show “Girls”) and Mackenzie Davis (of the movie “That Awkward Moment”) add another layer of love to the film, acting as the primary comparative couple.

There is a well-defined chemistry between these characters that comes alive on-screen and draws the viewer in. It’s the same type of chemistry we can only hope to have manifest in our own lives.