Director: John Krasinski
Starring: Separate ensemble, acting and voice casts include Cailey Fleming, Ryan Reynolds, John Krasinski, Fiona Shaw, Emily Blunt, Steve Carell, and Matt Damon
Distributor: Paramount Pictures Australia
Runtime: 105 mins. Reviewed in May 2024
Reviewer: Peter W Sheehan
| JustWatch |
Rating notes: Mild themes, some scenes may upset young children

This is an American live-action-fantasy film that tells the story of a young girl who begins to see the imaginary friends who have been left behind as their real-life friends have grown up.

The film follows a young girl, Bea (Fleming), who finds she is able to see the ‘imaginary friends’ (IFs), who have been left behind as she grows into adulthood. She discovers that her neighbour, Cal (Reynolds) has the ability to see the IFs she can see, and she shares imaginary friends with him.

The film is directed as a comedy by Krasinski, who has been responsible for critically successful horror movies of quality such as A Quiet Place (2018) that helped to put well-directed, Australian adventure-horror films on the international cinema map. In this film, Krasinski sheds the horror genre to direct a fantasy-action film with an underlying positive message: happiness can be retrieved by reconnecting with one’s Imaginary Friends. In doing so, he uses extensive acting and voice casts to deliver his messages. He sheds the studied negativity of The Quiet Place and his film engenders happiness, peace, and laughter by imbedding imagined figures in action scenarios that are both playful and witty.

Reconnecting IFs with the adults they used to know brings good cheer to both groups. This is a movie that has been made for children but carries a message that appeals to adults and children. Krasinski, who wrote and directed the film, uses his imagined figures as creatures to retrieve childhood enjoyment, hopes, and ambitions. The IFs are cartoon monsters that create fantasy situations in adventure format; the figures are child-friendly, and the film depicts adventures which are exciting. The film uses separate acting and voice casts to convey its messages and actors in the casts relate meaningfully to their own past. Blunt, for example, voices one of the IFs, as does Damon, her Oppenheimer co-star.

This is a light, enjoyable, fantasy film with smart scripting that has been explicitly directed to have family-adventure appeal. It is heart-warming in tone and style. Creatively, it delivers the simple message that ‘imaginary friends’ should never be forgotten, and adults could benefit from far more imagination in their life. It is exceptional that the director of The Quiet Place horror movie has put his creative skills to work to express such an intriguingly affectionate film about growing up.

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