If I Stay [2014] ★★


I’ll leave it to the experts to explore why so many of today’s youth-oriented novels/movies are dramatic, if not downright cheesy. “If I stay” is the latest example, based on Gayle Forman’s best-seller, and like other similar stories, it will make you cry. Or at least try. Fortunately, this story has a good actress in the lead and an intriguing premise to keep it afloat, at least for a while. Even though this isn’t my preferred genre, it wouldn’t be fair to completely dismiss this movie out of hand. Chloe Grace Moretz (“Let Me In”, “Kick Ass”) is one of the brightest young stars on the movie scene, and her honest performance is reason enough to buy a ticket to see “If I Stay”. She plays Mia, a young girl who finds herself caught between life and death after a horrible car accident. From then on, the movie is basically a series of flashbacks involving Mia’s family, friends, music, and her boyfriend Adam, played by Jamie Blackley. We learn how they met and fell in love, how she’s pursuing a career as a cellist while he wants to become a rock star. You know the drill. Writer Shauna Cross is all too ready to fall back on tired movie clichés. Director R.J Cutler can’t bring anything new to this material, and what’s worse, the film drags in the third act and then refuses to end. Readers of the book will have their own opinions, I’m sure, but while I didn’t completely hate the movie, what I take away more than anything is a growing admiration for its leading lady. Chloe Moretz’s performance will stay with me long after I’ve forgotten about “If I Stay”. And I guess I already did.

Rating: 2/4

4 replies »

  1. I actually liked this movie. It is fairly well done. I still prefer the book version, and hopefully the sequel “Where she went” will be even better….

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