John Krasinski’s IF: The Spoiler FAQ

John Krasinski’s IF: The Spoiler FAQ

Who could have guessed that John Krasinski would be so good at making horror movies? His directorial debut was A Quiet Place, he followed it up with A Quiet Place Part II, and now he’s made IF, not a horror film by genre but a horrible film in quality. We reviewed the film quite unfavorably here but now that it’s in theaters, figured it might be worth diving into further by bringing by an io9 classic: the spoiler FAQ. So, obviously, spoiler below.

What’s the twist?


I read your review of IF. I know it’s bad. I know what it’s about. But you mention a “Shyamalan twist” and I’d like to know what it is.

Jeez, fine, pushy. You ready?


Okay. Ryan Reynolds is the main girl’s imaginary friend.

That… that’s it?


Because that seemed like a distinct possibility in the trailers. 

Well, yes and I considered it too while watching the movie but it goes against the film’s rules so, I didn’t think it was actually possible.

Talk to me about these rules.

So we know that kids have imaginary friends, kids grow up, then grown up kids forget the imaginary friends at which point, they can’t see them anymore. That’s the crucial bit. The movie makes it very clear once a kid grows up and forgets about their IF they can no longer see them.

So obviously Bea, the main girl, remembered him.

She did not.

So how can she see him?

We don’t know. That’s why it was so weird. Maybe it’s because his IF form was a clown and here he just wears suspenders and wingtip shoes. Either way though, the reveal then opens up this whole other set of questions.

Bea and Cal.

Bea and Cal.
Image: Paramount

Now we’re talking. Hit me.

So you read my review where I talk about how Bea’s dad is in this hospital and she’s being watched by her grandma. A grandma who never once questions that she’s been hanging out all over New York City with Ryan Reynolds, aka Cal.

Yes, I got that. I have some questions but I got that.

But once we know he’s not there and it’s been like Bruce Willis in The Sixth Sense this whole time, now she has been hanging out all over New York City alone. While her dad is in the hospital. While her grandma never asks what she’s been up to. It’s both incredibly sad and wildly reckless.

Jeez, okay. But at least he’s funny, right?


Ryan Reynolds as the imaginary friend who isn’t really there. Cal. He’s funny.

No he’s not.

How is that possible?

What do you mean?

He’s played by Ryan Reynolds. And Ryan Reynolds is at his best when he’s playing Ryan Reynolds. Deadpool? Ryan Reynolds. Van Wilder? Ryan Reynolds. Free Guy? Ryan Reynolds. The trailers make it look like he’s doing that again.

Oh, he most certainly is not.


Cal is unhappy.

Cal is unhappy.
Image: Paramount

Yeah, so Cal is bitter. Before we know he’s Bruce Willis in The Sixth Sense all we know is that he’s a man who lives alone, who can see these IFs, and isn’t quite sure what to do with that power. He hangs around with an IF voiced by Phoebe Waller-Bridge, his only friend. More than anything he just seems mad that he can’t stop seeing these creatures everywhere. He comes off as a very disturbed man.

Wow, I was not expecting that.

Right? I guess by the end you’re supposed to realize he’s acting like that because he’s so sad that Bea—who he’s interacting with, which shouldn’t be happening thanks to the rules he established—doesn’t remember him, but that still doesn’t cover everything.

So then, like, why cast Ryan Reynolds?

Beats me.

Wow. This is a lot and we’ve still only discussed one aspect of the movie. 

Trust me, I know, I’m the one writing this. *Fourth wall break to look through computer screen*

I still have so many questions but I guess maybe I’ll just ask one more.

Make it a good one.

You got it. Um… Do we ever find out why Bea can see all the IFs?

No, we don’t. Ask another one.

We’re not even going to get into this?

We’re not even going to get into this?
Image: Paramount

Do they ever succeed in matching these old, forgotten IFs with new kids?

No, they don’t. Ask another one.

Is it fun that all the IFs have super famous celebrity voices?

Kind of but they average like four lines each. Again.

Damn, okay, um… After Bea sees Cal as her former IF again, does he stay with her forever?

That’s a better question, but no we don’t find out. Ask about the grown-ups.

The grown ups?

Yes, ask what happens with the grown-ups.

Uh. What happens with the grown-ups?

SO GLAD YOU ASKED! Okay so, after we spend half the movie with Cal and Bea trying and failing to match forgotten IFs with new kids, that’s thrown out and they start a new mission: matching the forgotten IFs with their now grown-up children.

Oh, that sounds good. Make adults remember their childhoods, all that nostalgia stuff.

In theory, yes. That’s what I thought too. But what we see in the movie is that the adults need some kind of sensory trigger to make them remember their childhoods. For Bea’s grandma, it’s music. For Bobby Moynihan’s character, it’s baked goods. And when that happens, the forgotten IFs light up like E.T..

Wait, Bobby Moynihan? Never mind, we’ll go with it. I have to say, I’m not hating this?

Yeah it’s not a bad idea. The problem is once the IFs light up like E.T., which is supposed to suggest they reestablish the connection, that’s it.

Bobby and his IF Blue

Bobby and his IF Blue
Image: Paramount

That’s it? What do you mean “That’s it?”

That’s it. They light up and then nothing happens.

Do they die and ascend having once again served their purpose?


Do they at least help the grown-ups in some way?

Sort of. Like Moynihan’s IF touches him on the shoulder before a big meeting and reassures him of himself and that’s it. They never actually talk.

Wait. They never talk or see each other?

In the last scene of the movie, Grandma does see her IF so we guess that’s supposed to cover or explain that, but when the whole E.T. thing happens early, no. Not at all. It’s not explained. It’s just deemed a success and glossed over.


Then it gets better.

“Good” better or “bad” better?

What do you think? So, at the end of the movie all of the adults in the movie end up seeing their IFs again.

Well, that’s sweet.

We’re supposed to think that but, again, it doesn’t make sense.

Does any of this make sense?

Image for article titled John Krasinski's IF: The Spoiler FAQ

Image: Paramount

Not really but here again, Krasinski breaks his own rule. He wrote these rules and still can’t follow them. Why didn’t he just write different rules!?!?

Calm down. Back on track. The grown-ups…

Sorry. Yes, the movie establishes that the grown-ups need some kind of trigger to reconnect with their kids—but at the end, in this montage, they all just show up and reappear in their lives. Plus, none of the adults freak out over the walking unicorn in the boardroom or dragon on the hood of their car. They just smile.

Almost sounds like he was rushing to wrap up a bunch of extraneous stories hoping no one would care.

Which, at this point, is not a bad idea, to be honest. Good to go?

Wow, okay. I guess that’s it then. Except, well, Germain?


I’m your IF.

No, you’re just me.

Makes about the same amount of sense.


Together: “IF is now in theaters!”

Want more io9 news? Check out when to expect the latest Marvel, Star Wars, and Star Trek releases, what’s next for the DC Universe on film and TV, and everything you need to know about the future of Doctor Who.

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