Live for Love… I’ll take my chances with Arnold.
Upon hearing the premise of If I Stay, I whole heartedly expected Jenifer Garner to be a leading actress. Thankfully I was wrong! So I put away all my comparisons to The Odd Life of Timothy Green I had readied.
This flick follows Moretz as Mia Hall, on her personal journey to choose between death and a drastically altered life after a car accident the entire family is involved in. Mia is the Rory Gilmore to her Lorelai-esque family; only with slower less witty banter. She’s a shy, soft-spoken classical musician while her family is into grunge rock and the likes. Over the course of the film we watch as Mia falls in love with someone just like her family and it’s scary to a 17 year-old.
The plot of If I Stay is simple and charming. While a welcome change from the big summer blockbusters filled with CGI and explosions, the overall “Hallmark” feel of the film is what leads it down the wrong path. The strong messages that family is worth living for, and that family isn’t just blood are hammered home like a golf club to the face.
The weakest point of this movie is the dialogue. I can pardon odd dialogue in a film like Star Wars because it is set a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away. However If I Stay is set in small-town, USA and shouldn’t have humans speaking in such a manner.
Truth be told, If I Stay is a coming out party for Chloë Grace Moretz. This gal can act! Naturally she impressed the (hopefully washed) masses as Hit-Girl in Kick-Ass, but she just had to kick asses and cuss like a purebred sailor. However, In If I Stay she stretched some muscles I doubt she used in Kick-Ass or Carrie. Also this girl can play music like a boss.
The rest of the cast does a bang up job with nothing of note; except Liana Liberato. I don’t wanna bash a young lady, but hot damn her line was bad to begin with and she just spat them out. Did director R.J. Cutler just not pay any attention while she was on set?
Something that can’t be ignored is the music and soundtrack of this flick. If I Stay has a great sound that is a treat for your ears. The one downside is Mia’s love interest Adam’s (Jamie Blackley) band. All their songs played during the film sound the same. Same beat, same tone. The only exceptions are Adam’s acoustic melodies.
I would have recommended If I Stay as a fantastic date movie, however many ladies in the cinema groaned at the cheese-factor. That being said this is a solid little movie worth checking out once it gets to streaming later this year.
If I Stay passes inspection.