Based on the popular novel written by Gayle Forman, director R.J. Cutler’s “If I Stay” brings this elevated version of a teenage love story to life.
Set in Portland, Oregon, the movie is centered around Mia, played by Chloe Grace Moretz, as she deals with the dilemma of pursuing her dreams in attending the prestigious Juilliard music school or staying with the love of her life, Adam. This storyline is recounted as Mia and her family are involved in a car accident leaving all of the family in a comatose, and during this time she has time to reconsider all of her relationships with her loved ones, especially her boyfriend.
In this film, Chloe plays the stereotypical girl next door, divergent from her well-known roles in “Kick-Ass” and “Kick-Ass 2.” Mia is a strong, independent minded teenager with a self-found inspiration for music, backed by her rock-hippie parents. However, when she meets her Adam, played by Jamie Blackley, she is transformed and introduced to the rock scene. She gains insight into a world so vastly different from hers, and along the way finds enjoyment in letting her inhibitions go. Everything goes perfectly as planned until she realizes that she may have to move across the country to fulfill her passion in playing cello. Meanwhile, she reflects on this storyline as flashbacks while she and her family are lying unconscious in the hospital. She remains in a ghostlike, transparent as she visualizes the grief and anxiety from family and friends.
This movie has everything a teenager finds interest in not limited to having a boyfriend that’s in a rock band, dreams and passions, break-up and heartache, and grief and despair. Although there were glimpses of humor and vibrant conversation in the storyline, the couple’s interaction seemed despondent and distant. This is certainly not a film that will uplift your spirits, rather it will cause you to sob continuously as the movie progresses further and further in drama and mournfulness. There is no doubt that this can capture the hearts of many teenage girls, but it is questionable whether an older audience could relate.
“If I Stay” is now playing.