I’m not sure if it was the thrill of seeing familiar Toronto streets and storefronts, Daniel Radcliffe’s endearing British accent, or the generally cute-but-edgy vibe of the movie. Maybe it was a combination of all three, but something about The F Word left me smiling. I kind of loved it.
The story is about Wallace, who has recently emerged from an extended mourning period after the disastrous end of his last serious relationship. At the first party he attends, a meet-cute involving fridge magnets introduces him to Chantry, with whom he feels an immediate connection, as evidenced by their adorable banter. Unfortunately he soon discovers that she lives with her long-term boyfriend. Over mutual interests the two soon become close friends, despite the boyfriend issue, and must deal with the consequences of an attraction that neither feels comfortable acting on or even acknowledging.
The back-and-forth between Wallace and Chantry throughout the movie is a big part of what makes it so lovely. Their interactions are endearing and at times slightly gross, but in a way that makes you laugh rather than cringe. Adam Driver and Mackenzie Davis make the perfect aggressively over-the-top sidekick-type friends, further underscoring the genuine adorableness of the two main characters and their will-they-won’t-they vibe.
With a concept that could have had us all sobbing and pulling our hair out, this movie does a great job of addressing and exploring a situation where there really is no right answer. There’s a great scene with Wallace and his friend Allan where they discuss his options for moving the relationship with Chantry further and come to the conclusion that it is essentially an impossible situation. And from Chantry’s perspective it was refreshing to see her dilemma. Too often romances paint a clear picture of the right guy and the wrong guy, but her relationship with Ben is good and solid, making it that much harder to see what the ‘right’ choice actually is.
There was definitely an indie vibe to the story, with beautiful animations and a subtle soundtrack running through the background and a slightly out-of-place dream sequence where Chantry warns Wallace against hooking up with her sister, but overall I was on board. I think the dialogue was probably my favourite part, mostly because the conversations seemed so real. It wasn’t like movie dialogue, it was more like genuinely funny, sarcastic, witty people interacting with each other and letting us watch. And the parts that did seem scripted were so well-written that I didn’t even mind.
I also appreciated the fact that this movie had the potential to drop one of those frustratingly ambiguous endings on us and chose not to. At the moment when the conflict is semi-resolved and you think you know but you’re not entirely sure whether everything is worked out, I was hit by the sense that they were going to leave us hanging in that awful way that cute indie movies sometimes do. But instead we get a very satisfying epilogue: the icing on this charming cake of a film.