The F Word (2013 film)
|The F Word|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Michael Dowse|
|Screenplay by||Elan Mastai|
|Based on||Toothpaste and Cigars
by TJ Dawe
and Michael Rinaldi
|Music by||A. C. Newman|
|Edited by||Yvann Thibaudeau|
|Distributed by||Entertainment One|
|Box office||$7.8 million|
The F Word (released in some countries as What If?) is a 2013 Canadian romantic comedy film directed by Michael Dowse and written by Elan Mastai, based on TJ Dawe and Michael Rinaldi's play Toothpaste and Cigars. The film stars Daniel Radcliffe, Zoe Kazan, Megan Park, Adam Driver, Mackenzie Davis and Rafe Spall and follows a pair of best friends who begin to have feelings for each other.
It premiered at the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival on September 7, 2013 and was released in Canada on August 22, 2014. The film was a nominee for Best Picture at the 2nd Canadian Screen Awards, and won for Adapted Screenplay.
Wallace (Daniel Radcliffe) has an odd job and lives with his sister and nephew in Toronto, Ontario. He dropped out of medical school after discovering his girlfriend having sex with his anatomy teacher and has not been social for more than a year. He is coerced by his best friend Allan (Adam Driver) into going to a house party, where he meets Allan's cousin Chantry (Zoe Kazan). At the same time, Allan meets Nicole (Mackenzie Davis) and they begin flirting with each other.
Chantry and Wallace leave the party and he walks her home where he finds out that Chantry has a boyfriend. Even so, she gives him her phone number, but he decides against calling her. They later run into each other at a movie theater, where they had both gone alone, and end up having dinner together.
Over time the friendship grows and Wallace is invited to meet Ben (Rafe Spall), Chantry's long-term boyfriend, who works for the United Nations. Ben, however, ends up in the hospital due to a series of unexpected accidents when Wallace visits their house for the first time. At the hospital, Wallace and Chantry run into Wallace's ex-girlfriend, Megan. Ben later moves to Dublin, Ireland for six months due to requirements of his job. During this time, Wallace and Chantry begin to see their relationship develop further and they begin to have deeper feelings for each other.
Allan and Nicole get married. Chantry's sister Dalia (Megan Park) tries to seduce Wallace in her car, but he does not reciprocate, because Wallace is worried that it would ruin any chance he would have with Chantry. Allan and Nicole invite the two to have a walk on the beach at night. They decide to go skinny dipping and soon Wallace and Chantry decide to join, whereupon Allan and Nicole steal their clothes, forcing them to sleep naked together on the beach. Wallace and Chantry feel forced into the intimate situation and begrudgingly decide to share the sleeping bag. The next day they leave the beach angrily.
Chantry is given a promotion to direct an animated project in Taiwan. However, she is pressured because of her strained relationship with Ben so she travels to Dublin to join him. On arriving, she discovers that Ben has accepted more work commitments that require him to travel frequently and she decides to break off the relationship. Meanwhile, Wallace decides to follow Chantry; upon arriving Ben punches him in the face, knocking him down the front stairs. He then checks his voicemail, learning that she has returned to Toronto. They meet, but Wallace tells Chantry about the trip and his feelings for her and she responds unfavorably.
Wallace considers going back to medical school and moving on with his life; however, he decides to attend Chantry's farewell party and they have a tearful goodbye. They finally admit to their mutual feelings while giving each other a Fool's Gold Sandwich, something they had previously discussed while hanging out together, and kiss.
In an epilogue set 18 months later, it is revealed that Wallace followed Chantry to Taiwan and proposed to her there while he completed his medical studies. They marry and contemplate the rest of their lives while sitting on Wallace's rooftop.
- Daniel Radcliffe as Wallace
- Zoe Kazan as Chantry
- Megan Park as Dalia
- Adam Driver as Allan
- Mackenzie Davis as Nicole
- Rafe Spall as Ben
- Jemima Rooper as Ellie
- Jordan Hayes as Becky
- Meghan Heffern as Tabby
- Jonathan Cherry as Josh
- Sarah Gadon as Megan
- Tommie-Amber Pirie as Gretchen
- Adam Fergus as Rolf
- Lucius Hoyos as Felix
- Rebecca Northan as Holly
- Oona Chaplin as Julianne
- Ennis Esmer as Paramedic Ozman Bey
Elan Mastai's script was included in the Black List's 2008 survey. Principal photography began mid-August 2012, in Toronto. A six-week shoot took place in Ontario, and ended with three days in Dublin, Ireland. The scene in which Wallace runs into Chantry at a movie theater was filmed at the Royal Cinema. Filming additional scenes for a new ending took place in Toronto in November 2013. Casey Affleck was originally attached to play the lead, but was later replaced by Radcliffe.
The film's worldwide distribution rights were acquired by Entertainment One and they handled the theatrical release in Canada and the United Kingdom. North American sales of distribution were obtained by the UTA.
CBS Films eventually bought the U.S. distribution rights, following the film's world premiere at the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival. CBS Films changed the release title in the United States to What If due to the Motion Picture Association of America taking issue with the implied foul word in the "F" part of The F Word. It was also retitled by Entertainment One for the UK, but retained the original for the Canadian release.
On Rotten Tomatoes the film has an approval rating of 72% based on 120 reviews, with an average rating of 6.3/10. The site's critical consensus states: "Its narrative framework may be familiar, but What If transcends its derivative elements with sharp dialogue and the effervescent chemistry of stars Daniel Radcliffe and Zoe Kazan." On Metacritic, the film has a score of 59 out of 100, based on reviews from 36 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".
John DeFore of The Hollywood Reporter gave a positive review of the film, remarking, "Hitting all the rom-com notes with wit and some charm, it'll be a crowd-pleaser in theaters and help moviegoers move on from seeing co-star Daniel Radcliffe only as the world's favorite wizard". Justin Chang of Variety wrote, "Roughly three parts charming to one part cloying, "The F Word" attempts and largely succeeds at pulling off a smart, self-aware riff on romantic-comedy conventions while maintaining a core of earnest feeling". Film.com gave it a 7.2 out of 10, noting that it was "elevated from an above-average romantic comedy to a movie worthy of being embraced by a generation of twenty somethings because it refuses to let its characters off the hook". JoBlo.com's Chris Bumbray said that the film "feels like it could be the Toronto answer to the Sundance breakout hit 500 Days of Summer. Like that movie, it takes a stale genre, and gives it a hip indie twist. It is director Michael Dowse's follow-up to GOON, and just like that film, its hilariously foul script disguises a surprisingly soft, big-hearted centre". Betsy Sharkey of the Los Angeles Times thought it was "the best, and sweetest, of the filmmaker’s work yet".
The Guardian initially scored the film two out of five stars, saying it was "really hard to finish" and "liable to leave you queasy" but a later review by a different reviewer scored the film four out of five stars describing it as a "light, delightful movie". Eric Kohn of IndieWire wrote, "The movie primarily frustrates by doing nothing fresh. Careening toward an overly neat and tender resolution, "The F Word" lacks the gall to let its uncoordinated characters wind up victims of their situation".
The film has also been criticized for having an entirely caucasian cast, despite being set in Toronto, with people of color making up nearly half of Toronto's population. Alexandra Heeney of The Seventh Row writes "there’s something very wrong with the fact that the entire cast is white".
|2014||Canadian Screen Award for Best Picture||The F Word||Nominated|
|Canadian Screen Award for Best Director||Michael Dowse||Nominated|
|Canadian Screen Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role||Daniel Radcliffe||Nominated|
|Canadian Screen Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role||Mackenzie Davis||Nominated|
|Canadian Screen Award for Best Adapted Screenplay||Elan Mastai||Won|
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