Note: Possible spoilers ahead, but I try to stick mostly to vagueness and hinting, preferring to speak mostly on character and theme. Hope you enjoy my review.
This movie sets out to answer the question: can two people of the opposite sex really be just friends?
I suppose this is why I really wanted to see this movie. Sure, Harry Potter himself stars in it, but I don’t think that was my main driving force for watching.
I have always been baffled and fascinated by the above question. Everyone has their own opinions and experiences with this. I’m not just talking friendly or occasional acquaintances though. I mean more like best friends who hang out together on a weekly basis, one-on-one.
Daniel and Zoe play two such friends.
Daniel Radcliffe’s character Wallace is a med school drop-out who stopped trying, in his career and in love.
After catching his x with someone else he dropped out of a valuable future in medicine. The mistakes of his parents were ones he was afraid he was doomed, himself, to end up making.
Now he lives in his sister’s attic, does not get out much, and is his nephew’s only male role model.
His luck changes when he meets a girl at a party, thrown by his friend and college roommate, played by Adam Driver (Hannah’s on-again off-again love interest on the hit HBO series Girls).
Wallace and Chantry (played by Zoe Kazan) strike up a conversation and it turns out their connection is instant, rare, and undeniable.
All goes well, until the walk home when, after exchanging numbers, she casually mentions her boyfriend will be wondering what happened to her.
Against his better judgment, Wallace agrees to be just friends, but tells himself he won’t see this girl again.
Fate has other plans for these two when they meet up at a showing of The Princess Bride, two of them each seeing a movie alone and during the week. They decide to be friends from then on and spend the rest of the film trying to balance their growing and disguised feelings for one another with their expectations on life and on love. After all, Chantry is in a long-term relationship and, after losing her mother at a young age, does not believe in giving up, all while trying to go by the lessons her mother’s death have taught her on holding on to what’s truly good in your life.
Wallace has learned that love is messy and complex, but to intrude on other people’s relationships is just plain wrong. His hard lessons from his previous relationship and his parents’ have made him unwilling to do what it would take to win his best friend’s affections.
Allan is the best friend you’d want to have, (except maybe when he leaves you naked on a beach overnight). He is sarcastic and funny and full of great advice about the messiness of love and relationships. Some of his advice goes something like this:
“Love is messy and complex. If it’s simple you don’t try and if you don’t try you won’t.”
If you follow? 🙂
I may have misquoted a little, but something about that line from Adam’s character struck a cord with me. Maybe you have to hear him saying it to understand. I would recommend you check out the movie, just to hear him say those particular lines. They were touching, uplifting, and so strangely true (emphasis on the strangely).
I will admit that some of the dialogue in this film was all over the place and hard to get at times. At certain points, when watching, I had to ask myself and my sister sitting next to me, “What?” and she could no better explain it to me, but this is what made this particular movie experience so pleasant and different.
Sure, the story of a young guy and girl trying to hide their feelings from one another is not new; however, this romantic comedy delivered on heart and fun. We laughed uncontrollably several times: my sister from a few of the physically humorous scenes and myself from just the sheer oddness of what I was seeing. I was drawn in and Daniel does a good job, although admittedly it is hard to see him in any other roles, without my mind going back to his once-in-a-lifetime role as Harry Potter. That is something, undoubtedly, that he is working to distance himself from for both his audience and for himself.
His character in The F Word is smart and witty and a good guy, just the kind you might want as a best friend or possibly more. I left the theatre smiling and laughing. The writing really is bazaar and a bit out-there at times, but I found that pleasing and a refreshing change from the usual. I still didn’t have any final answers to the question of whether or not girls and guys can be just friends, but I suppose the best questions in life have no true answers.
The F Word originally premiered at the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival and the city of Toronto is the setting for this story. With a distinct homey feel (for me) with backgrounds such as The CN Tower and familiar streets and other locations, I somehow felt at home when watching. The F Word is up against such blockbusters as Guardians of the Galaxy and the updated version of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. For a somewhat smaller movie by comparison, this film comes across nicely and is more my cup of tea.
Check out a small taste
I couldn’t believe it when I read how this movie is called one thing in Canada, where I live, and another in the States. Daniel seems to have a problem with having his movie titles altered: Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone to Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone and now The F Word to What If?
WHAT IF the title had been left alone? What horrors would have befallen, I wonder? What would you think if I had titled this post The F Word? Would you automatically jump to the wrong conclusion? Would that have prevented you from reading or have been just the thing to grab your attention and want to read more?
What do you think about this change in titles? Do you think it necessary?
Also: what do you think? In your own experience, can men and women be just friends, or is their almost always more going on?
I’d love to hear your thoughts on these matters.