I Took My Child To See John Krasinski's IF, And Was Not Prepared For How It Emotionally Devastated Me

 Ryan Reynolds in IF.
Ryan Reynolds in IF.

Warning! The following contains mild SPOILERS of the plot of IF. Read at your own risk!

John Krasinki's IF is now in theaters, and as CinemaBlend's Riley Utley put it in CinemaBlend's IF review, the director's creativity shines in this tale about imaginary friends. Unfortunately, I didn't have the chance to read Riley's review before I took my daughter and wife to see the movie, which, in hindsight, might've been a mistake. Never in my life have I been so embarrassed for crying in a movie theater, and I'm here to warn others that this movie emotionally devastated me and several other adults in the theater.

I promise I'm not trying to protect my ego here; lots of adults were weeping by the end of this movie, and I would assume that, like me, they had no idea what they were in for. Because of that, I'm writing this to anyone who wasn't a part of IF's first strong weekend at the box office so that they can be better prepared than I was for this awesome, yet very sad movie.

IF Was Not The Light-Hearted Affair I Expected It To Be

Anyone who was blindsided by IF in theaters or shocked by the fact that it isn't what they thought it was shouldn't feel that way. Those who watch the trailer and commercials for this movie would think it's a live-action revival of the old Cartoon Network cartoon Foster's Home For Imaginary Friends. Take a look at the trailer below and tell me I'm wrong:

It looks pretty silly and fun, right? Now, what if I told you that in the opening minutes of the movie, you witness a montage in which a loving couple has a child, and that child watches her mother die from cancer over time? And then, years later, that girl goes to stay with her grandmother while her father is hospitalized to have heart surgery?

I guess putting that in the trailer isn't the best way to sell a movie, compared to leaning on the dynamic of John Krasinksi and Steve Carrell collaborating again after The Office. Still, it was quite a shock that the main plotline of this story is so sad and leans heavily on the trauma of losing someone and being left alone. It's nothing so heavy that a child can't manage it, but it's certainly not as silly as the trailers suggest.

IF Does Equal Out The Sadness With Humor And Warmth

I don't point out how sad IF is to dissuade anyone from seeing it in theaters. In fact, I say it'll stand the test of time and be remembered as a classic children's movie to this younger generation of kids and maybe one of the highlights when looking back on Louis Gossett Jr.'s past performances. Yes, this movie will make you cry both happy and sad tears, but there's so much joy packed into it as well.

A lot of that joy, as one might suspect, comes from the duo performances of Ryan Reynolds and Cailey Fleming. Reynolds does his classic comedy performance, mixing in maybe a bit more physical comedy than he has in the past. As for Fleming, her character Bea reminded me a lot of Vada in the movie My Girl. She gives a performance that highlights the ups and downs we go through as children, as well as the general helplessness when dealing with heavy situations at a young age. She's also a pretty good dancer it seems, based on one specific scene of the movie.

Those who go and see IF won't be let down with the laughs, and there are a good deal more than what is shown in the movie. I would also go a bit further to say that unlike most children's movies, the best parts of IF are not in the trailers, and that includes the sad and fun stuff. So while I would like to inform readers that this is a movie where you might cry, I also am in no way trying to convince anyone they should skip it.

Even Though I Cried My Eyes Out, I Highly Recommend It

After seeing IF, my wife asked if it was made by Pixar for two reasons. One, the movie was packed with CGI characters, and two because IF made her also cry her eyes out. Given how good Pixar films are at making audiences cry, it was an honest mistake to make, but for anyone reading who doesn't know, this comes from Paramount Pictures.

This is John Krasinski's first time directing a children's movie, but I'm hoping it is not his last. He definitely has a knack for understanding the scary things that kids go through, and the equally terrifying part of being a parent or grandparent and not wanting your child to suffer in life. It definitely feels like there's two different stories being told throughout this movie between what a kid may experience while watching and what an adult will. And yet, somehow I think both parties are on the same page at the end and it's a beautiful thing. My six-year-old daughter loved the movie, and I would love to get her take on it down the line when she is much older.

If it's any consolation to parents that are reading, my daughter did not cry nearly as much as other adults in the theater, but she did say she thought IF was sad. I was, unfortunately, seated next to a stranger away from her and my wife through the movie, so I can't attest to how many tears were shed, but like most kids, she was onto thinking about the next thing she was going to do after the movie. As far as I can tell, the movie did not traumatize her, but parents who know their children will be able to decide for themselves whether or not they're is ready for a movie with such big themes.

IF Is in theaters right now, and I highly recommend those who haven't seen it yet go and do so. Of course, there's plenty of great movies out right now as the summer season is fast approaching, so be sure to stick with CinemaBlend for more updates on what's on the way.