Saturday, August 30, 2014


If I Stay

Chloë Grace Moretz,
Jamie Blackley


August 22, 2014

R.J. Cutler

Warner Bros. Pictures,
New Line Cinema,
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures

1 hour 47 minutes



Being a fan of Chloë Grace Moretz, I'm game for whatever role she decides to choose next.  When I heard that her latest project was, for lack of a better term, a "chick-flick," I was more interested than actually excited for it.  The movie is basically about a girl pondering whether or not she wants to continue living life after a car accident has left her in a comatose state and as possibly the sole survivor of the crash.  Of course there's a hunky boyfriend, and of course there is a lot of drama present.  Getting past that, though, all that matters is if the film itself got enough things right to be considered good.  In the case of "If I Stay," I think it did.  Sure this isn't a perfect movie by any means, but for the most part, I actually enjoyed this movie more than I expected myself to.

First off, the acting in the film is actually better than one would expect. Chloë Grace Moretz might not be giving her best performance here, but as a whole, she pulls off her role fairly well and manages to carry this movie on her own for the most part. Blackley actually surprised me in the sense that he actually gave a decent performance and brought some emotion to the role. The other performances in the movie are nothing particularly special, though I will say that there’s a scene with Stacey Keach's character in a hospital room that was actually pretty emotional. Otherwise, nobody other than Moretz and Blackley really stood out for me.

The overall tones that the movie possessed were something of a mixed bag for me. On one hand, the film felt sappy, forced and too manipulative for my liking. On the other hand, there were moments of genuinely authentic and pleasant vibes that actually moved me and made me actually care for these characters.  When these pleasant moments were allowed to shine, the film strived and succeeded at keeping this critic invested.  Having said that, these moments don't make up for the flaws that this film unfortunately possesses.

Now for those who have read the book that this film is based on, the flaw I'm about to talk about may upset you.  However, there's a reason as to why I had this while watching the film. The editing in this film felt incredibly jumbled and got annoying to me a little. From what I've heard of from the book, the lead character Mia was recalling memories she had as she's having this comatose out of body experience. In the movie, that’s never addressed whatsoever, so instead it’s just randomly cutting to and from the hospital in every other scene, making it feel almost unnecessary in a way. Unless you read the book, I doubt many would catch on to that, as it’s never even shown that Mia is remembering things in the first place.  The ending of this movie also ticked me off quite a bit.

We as an audience are given this intriguing and fascinating emotional climax about Mia choosing either to “stay” or “go” in terms of living, and then the screen fades to a white light. The screen then fades from the white light into the hospital room, where the last seconds of the movie is Mia simply opening her eyes.  The reason why this ticked me off is for two reasons:  The first reason is that it sets up for a sequel that I doubt many people who haven't read the book would actually want.  The second reason is that the close up shot of opening eyes has been done in countless other movies beforehand, so the surprise of that has worn its welcome and instead made me just say "really?" out loud.  If these two things were either better structured or unique in their own way, then I have a feeling that I would have enjoyed this movie more.

Despite the flaws that I found present here, I actually enjoyed "If I Stay" more than I expected to. Chloe Moretz and Jamie Blackley had solid chemistry and did solid jobs here in regards to their performances, the story kept me invested, and there were several scenes that moved me in both a happy and a sad way. If you’re a teen girl, or somebody who has read the book that this movie’s based on, I’d say check this movie out. From what I’ve heard, this actually stays true to the book, which is always a good sign. As for the guys, unless you’re like me and you either A.) like chick flicks, B.) rarely dislike movies, or C.) all of the above, this isn’t a movie made for you. And if your girlfriends drag you to this one, at least you’re giving the lady something that they’ll thank you for taking them to.  This isn't on the levels of something like "The Fault in Our Stars," but this is a young adult adaptation that I would recommend as a solid rental for a girl's sleepover party.


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