There are tons of movies that are made in Toronto – but Toronto never gets to be Toronto. It’s always New York, often Chicago, and it’s been Seattle, which are characters as well as settings in the movies.
This time it’s Toronto starring alongside the talented actors in “What If.” Daniel Radcliffe plays Wallace, a medical school student who has just dropped out because his gorgeous girlfriend has betrayed him and broken his heart. He’s a moping, sad sack until he goes to a party one night and meets Chantry, played by Zoe Kazan.
There’s instant chemistry between the two, but she has a boyfriend.
They become good friends, which occupies the fairly familiar “When Harry Met Sally” territory. But unlike other films in this vein, there is a great deal of wit, heart and intelligence.
What makes this film so good is the believable characters. People, who are not, by any means perfect. They’re kind of annoying at points. But they feel like people you know – at least – they feel like people I know.
The magic may have been in the casting, because you can’t always fake that. The two performances are quite wonderful, and they have real romantic chemistry.
Daniel Radcliffe is a wonderful actor and yes, it’s easy to write him off as “Harry Potter.” Here, he plays a guy who is damaged and sardonic, and doesn’t want to believe in love, but love pulls him in that direction.
Zoe Kazan is another rising star, who is not as they say, “conventionally beautiful,” but she’s an appealing leading lady.
Romantic comedies are always set up with the same trope – an “unworthy” boyfriend. This story is no different, Chantry’s boyfriend doesn’t really understand or honor her and it’s a regular romantic convention. But they also go to the some of the complications in relationship.
“What If” is based on a successful stage play in Toronto that didn’t make it out of Canada and you can see why it was successful and on screen it’s been opened up.
Even though the film is predictable – it has a few surprises, and some of those surprises were hilariously, laugh out loud funny.
It’s nice to see a rom-com come along where the guy is not a big adolescent who just wants to play video games all the time. “What if” is one of the better romantic comedies of the year.