REVIEW: What If? (Manny Palo, 2023)

Sep 10, 2023
What If Alessandra De Rossi JM De Guzman Netflix Movie

Manny Palo’s What If? follows Jecs (JM De Guzman) and Billie (Alessandra De Rossi), a newlywed couple on a honeymoon getaway on a remote island. When a typhoon strikes that leaves them stranded in their destination house, past and present problems emerge.

It can be a challenge to get through What If? if you’re looking for a casual watch on Netflix. The film takes its time to make you believe that Jecs and Billie’s vacation will be dreamy and unproblematic. The two are on a high from their fresh marriage that dealbreakers may be out of the way in their conversations.

But the film also did not waste any time in establishing inevitable confrontations, immediately turning the once joyful couple into insufferable individuals who are just waiting for the opportunity to hide their biggest gripes for each other. It is a struggle to watch because you know that their marriage is already in doom only a few days in.

It is commendable that What If? did not shy away from showing the toxicity of its characters. At times, it works to the advantage of its actors to shy away from having cookie-cutter performances. Both De Guzman and De Rossi are great as they always do, and if there is any reason to watch the film, it’s them.

The “what if” posed by the film’s title was never really assumed until the very end. With problems acknowledged and discussed, the most striking what-if is the future that holds between Jecs and Billie. Where we are left off puts them in a critical condition. Major arguments are resolved with band-aid solutions, and our characters will undoubtedly face another crisis before they know it. I’m most looking forward to seeing what comes after.

What If? is now streaming on Netflix.


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