Movie Review If I Stay (2014)

Posted: September 7, 2015 in Drama, Romance
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if i stay

Seventeen year old Mia Hall (Chloe Grace Moretz) doesn’t quite fit in with her family.  Her father Denny (Joshua Leonard) was an aspiring rock drummer, whose band was rising through the ranks.  Her mother was a punk rock chick, who married Denny, and had two kids.  Mia fell in love with the cello, so his father sold his drums to buy a cello, and Mia played it day and night.  Aspiring rocker Adam (Jamie Blackley) hears Mia playing and falls hard for her.  But his band gains popularity, and she gets an audition for Julliard, and that puts tension on the relationship.  Then, on a family trip, Mia gets into a car accident, and lapses into a coma.  Will Mia wake up from her coma?  Will Adam come to see Mia in the hospital, despite their on again-off again relationship?

I did not like If I Stay, this is such a conventional teen/tween romance that it was harshly disappointing to me, the aspiring rock star that Mia is dating is supposed to be “dangerous” but he’s about as dangerous a rocker as Greg Brady of the Brady Bunch.  The parents usually provide tension in these movies, but these parents were part of the rock n’rolll generation, so they’re cool with Adam and Mia’s relationship.  I didn’t like the Mia character at all, she seemed totally repressed in the first hour, she didn’t drink, smoke or even kiss Adam, and then in the second half the floodgates break open.  It’s a wildly mercurial character, and real people don’t behave like this.  Everything seems innocuous in this movie, but there is one really dangerous idea here, that teen or tween girls pin all their happiness on one guy.  That’s a very dangerous idea.  A person has to find happiness within him or herself, and Mia is an accomplished cellist, that should be enough for her self-esteem, but without Adam, she is miserable.  That’s a horrible message to send.  To top it off, the lead actors had no chemistry together.

I like Chloe Grace Moretz, she’s played unconventional girls with great results.  She made a spectacular splash is Hit Girl, in the uber violent Kick Ass, and she was very good as Abby in Let Me In. But she plays Mia as a weak, simpering, and needy girl, I realize she can only play whatever is written, but it makes me wonder why she took this role in the first place.  Jamie Blackley sings well, but his acting is dull, flat and emotionless.  He looks much older than the high school senior he plays, and Moretz looks much younger, so the romantic scenes feel kind of creepy.

The direction is nothing to speak of, the so called light of the afterlife bathes some scenes, there is one romantic scene that looks like a home movie, but nothing visually outstanding.  The director didn’t get good performances from the primary actors.

If I Stay:  Overstays its welcome.

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