What If (2013) movie explained: Was it right for Chantry to dump Ben and be with Wallace instead?
I know I might sound like a cheesy writer, but I just love Romantic Comedies, always have. So, on a random Thursday afternoon, when I suddenly felt the need to watch a rom com, I picked a movie that I wanted to watch from a long time: What If?, also known as The F word, starring Daniel Radcliffe, Zoe Kazan and Adam Driver.
What If is a refreshing yet engaging movie, it didn’t have much of a plot, but still it succeeded in holding my attention with its immersive screenplay, amazing characters and the beautiful chemistry between the leads. In this age of blockbusters, where romantic comedies are getting staler with each passing year, a surprising feel good movie like What If (The F Word) is exactly what we need.
This movie doesn’t add something “new” to the rom-com genre, Daniel Radcliffe’s character Wallace works in a dead-end job, lives in his sister’s attic, basically gets his heart broken by his ex and now doesn’t believe in a thing called love. The other lead, Chantry, played by Zoe Kazan, is struggling with career decisions but is in a content 5-year-old relationship with Ben (Rafe Spall). Chantry would have been doing pretty well in her life separately, but since she is one of the main leads, she had to have met Wallace at that birthday party. So, the base of the plot is pretty usual, but what makes this movie so appealing is the situation & development the characters go through.
One of the strongest points of this movie is its dialogues. They are well written, witty yet funny and when you give such dialogues to Adam Driver, you already know that he is going to deliver them with flawlessly. The whole subplot related to Adam Driver’s character, Allan, getting married to Nicole, whom he abruptly met at his party, was mostly used for humour, but still it was a pleasant addition to the film.
So, summing up the plot, Wallace & Chantry meet at a party, they vibe pretty well with each other, decide to be friends, Ben (Chantry’s boyfriend) moves to Dublin making their relationship a long distance one, but then in the end Chantry does the unimaginable thing, she actually leaves Ben with whom she has been together for 5 years and decides to spend the rest of her life with Wallace. The film does an amazing job to make us root for these lead characters, but when you apply some logic and think about the ending, it will baffle your mind.
So, in this article I will discuss this aspect of the movie and try to determine why was this wrong as well as why Chantry and Wallace being together made sense. Going to hit 2 birds with one article, eh?
Why the ending of What If (2013) film didn’t make any sense?
If this was any other generic Rom-Com, then Chantry’s boyfriend Ben would have been a downright atrocious person. That’s what the makers normally do, they make the lead character’s partner cheat on her, be cruel to her or verbally abuse her, and that works pretty well. You spite the partner and eventually root for the lead characters to get together.
But in What If the makers took the complete opposite route and made Ben the most likeable boyfriend. He is smart, good looking, well behaved, loves Chantry very much, is a successful UN attorney and can cook. You know those girls in 80s movies who must describe their ideal partner at the start of the movie, so if you combine all their wishes and put inside one man, you will get a man like Ben, that’s how perfect he is. So, I thought the movie will keep the relationship between Chantry and Ben afloat and will instead focus on themes like love vs friendship, how two lead characters do not always have to fall in love. But boy, was I wrong!
After the Dublin trip, when Wallace finally confesses his feelings to Chantry, she suddenly realizes that the man whom she has been with for 5 years isn’t the right man for her, but the man whom she hasn’t even known for 5 months is the love of her life, who will fill her life with happiness and prosperity. This works very well with the movie, but it does bring some moral obligations with it. Chantry must have gone through thick and thin with Ben during the course of their relationship and mind you, five years is a long, long time. So, was Wallace actually THAT competent for Chantry that she tarnished her entire relationship with Ben? I guess we will never know.
Keeping all the moral obligations aside, the thing which I didn’t like in this movie is the lack of closure for the character of Ben. I understand this plot was mainly focused on our two lead characters and all those ‘will they or won’t they’ scenarios, but a character like Ben requires some sort of conclusion like, what happened to him after the breakup? Did it affect his work, or did he find some other woman? Some eager folks at Reddit even tried to contact the producers just to know final state of Ben, but this is yet another thing that will stay in the dark.
Why Chantry & Wallace getting together was a good ending?
The first half of this article is just filled with my rants, but I’m a person who likes to present both the sides of a coin. So, in this half I will particularly talk about the opposite side, especially why did the ending kind of make sense?
Look, you have to understand that not every relationship needs to last till the lifetime or end in a happy marriage. Some relationships are just meant to be a journey, and Chantry and Ben’s was one of them. They were together for 5 years and just like every couple, they at some point would have thought about engagement, wedding, kids or life in general. But then stuffs happen in life and things change. That change in this relationship was Ben’s promotion to be the lead negotiator in Dublin. Ben went away from Chantry, meanwhile Wallace came closer to her and was always there for her.
Chantry and Wallace had that much needed vibe & spark from their very first meeting and eventually that vibe took over Chantry’s mind. In that dressing room where she called Wallace for help, one can clearly notice the sexual tension between them, and at one point she even tried to kiss him but then she snapped back into the reality. Furthermore, the stuffs which happened on the beach and then that line “I’ll look if you look” were obvious indications that Chantry was also developing feelings for Wallace. But she was still in a relationship with Ben and the guilt of sleeping naked with another man, even though nothing happened, overtook her and she ran to Dublin.
So, the spark, vibe and feels Chantry was missing with Ben, she found that in Wallace and maybe sometimes that’s all you need. If she isn’t feeling these things in her current relationship with Ben, then who is to say that she will eventually be happy or satisfied after their marriage.
Also, Ben wasn’t really the perfect man in this relationship. After he moved to Dublin, the long distance affected him and he focused more and more on his work. He loved the city so much that he was ready to take a 6-month extension for his job without even consulting Chantry. When she visited Dublin hoping to surprise Ben, she found him with another lady, who was apparently nothing but a neighbour living next door. Now, this doesn’t prove that he might have been cheating on her, but the moment he saw Chantry, he lifted his hands from that lady and let her fall even faster than my stock options. This particular act seemed a bit fishy and could have been benefited from more development in the movie.
One of the most common reasons behind disintegrations of any romantic relationships in real life is the career choices and the same thing happened with Ben & Chantry too. They both are incredible in their respective jobs and were at a point in the life where a promotion was just easy grab for them. Chantry used to decline her promotion because she wasn’t ready to be a project manager and just loved being an animator, but when Ben took his promotion and moved to Dublin, and her boss, Holly gave her the last chance of being promoted, she realized that this is her only opportunity. Let’s say even if Wallace weren’t there in Chantry’s life, it would have been really difficult to maintain her relationship, with Ben moving to Dublin and her living in Taiwan. The long distance would be much harder when both of them are busy in their jobs.
Still, in the end, this is just a movie made to give the audience a happy ending. You get immersed in the chemistry between the lead characters, you eventually root for them and then they finally get together, giving you the ending you had in your mind.