When I first saw the trailer for If I Stay back in April, I got chills
and it quickly became one of my top five most anticipated movies of the
summer. From then on, I stayed away from all other trailers and clips
so that I could see the movie knowing as little as possible, to the
point where I'd put the TV spots on mute and run out of the theater
when a trailer came on. Based on the trailer I saw, I honestly expected
something similar to Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, or a
dramatic Inception. However, after having finally seen it this weekend,
I am sad to report that If I Stay is nothing like that at all, and is
instead probably my most disappointing movie of the summer.
If I Stay follows Mia, played by Chloe Grace Moretz, an 18 year old girl who likes classical music and cello, and who's still not quite over her ex, Adam (Jamie Blackley). Then on a snowy day, her life is completely turned upside down when her family and she get into a deadly car crash, sending her into a coma. In this coma, she has an out of body experience in which she needs to decides either to die and go up to heaven or live with the physical and emotional repercussions, all while flashing back to the relationship she and Adam had.
The movie is primarily made up of flashbacks to the relationship that Mia and Adam had, and the chemistry that the two of them share isn't very strong and can be described as okay at best. Chloe Grace Moretz is a talented young actress who really gives it her best in this film, whereas her costar Jamie Blackley ranges from decent to mediocre. The relationship between their two characters is cute and sort of fun for the first half of the movie. However, in the second half when their relationship slowly starts to go downhill, Adam becomes a jerk and is unlikeable and unreasonable, which made me have a tough time feeling bad for him when he was an emotional wreck. Also, with Adam and Mia's relationship, something felt missing. Rather than true love, it felt like a typical high school relationship where the two people think they're love, then someday breakup and later realize that they never actually were in love.
Then all the other characters are either annoying or underdeveloped. Mia's parents are somewhat likable, however, most of their jokes and dialogue come off as either flat or cringe-worthy. Then there's this couple who is close friends to Mia's parents, and they are present in the hospital for most of the movie and in many of the flashbacks. In one scene they talk about never wanting to have children, but then they are later seen in another scene with a baby (referred to as their son) who is then never referenced or seen again afterwards. The one exception to all this would be Mia's grandfather, played by Stacy Keach, and he had one scene in particular that I did really like (those who have seen the movie can probably guess what scene it was). Perhaps I am just being biased since I do enjoy Keach and his acting, but I do think he gave a good performance.
Now I have some things to say regarding the ending. I'm not going to outright say any spoilers, but I'm kind of going to imply what happens in the end. Therefore, if you do not want anything spoiled about If I Stay, skip this next paragraph.
Mia makes her decision to stay or leave based off of a five minute speech that one character makes to her, and then the movie ties itself up really nice in a bow and leaves everything real hopeful and bright for the characters. While I do like happy endings, I felt in this case a less hopeful ending would have been better suited to really make her decision difficult. Not Requiem For a Dream level hopeless, but rather cutting the whipped cream and cherry on top. However, I do have to say that with the route they chose, the last ten seconds of the film were perfect. The place where the last shot cut could not have been better.
In the end, If I Stay is just another average teen romance movie, and it's not even all that interesting. The trailer makes the movie seem like a tear-jerking drama that takes place all in her mind about her decision to live or die, when in reality, it's a high school love story consisting of 70% flashbacks that only spends a small portion with her out of body experience. I REALLY don't want to give this movie anything below a 6/10 because of how much I had been looking forward to it for so long, but I have to give it a 5/10. It's even possible that in the future my score will go even lower. While it is somewhat entertaining, If I Stay is a rather weak romance movie for teens and is overall very forgettable.
If I Stay
Action / Drama / Fantasy / Music / Romance
If I Stay
Action / Drama / Fantasy / Music / Romance
Mia Hall thought the hardest decision she would ever face would be whether to pursue her musical dreams at Juilliard or follow a different path to be with the love of her life, Adam. But what should have been a carefree family drive changes everything in an instant, and now her own life hangs in the balance. Caught between life and death for one revealing day, Mia has only one decision left, which will not only decide her future but her ultimate fate.
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November 08, 2014 at 12:48 PM