Movie Review | If I Stay

2.5/5 stars

This teen flick based on Gayle Forman’s best-selling novel If I Stay is a heartbreaking story told by a 17 year old cello prodigy. Mia’s (Chloe Moretz) biggest decision was choosing between Juilliard and her home, with her family and boyfriend. However, an unexpected accident changes all of that. In a mere matter of seconds, Mia’s decision changes into an even bigger picture: choosing between life and death.

I didn’t have high expectations for this film, not going to lie. I’d read the book beforehand, and although it was a nice story, and I liked the premise behind it, it didn’t draw me in. The movie wasn’t much better.

Adam (Jamie Blackley) was even more annoying in the film than I had ancticipated. In the novel, there’s at least some justification in his actions, however in the movie, he just comes across as a possessive freak. Not only that, but his lines seem even cheesier in the movie. When he told Mia to “Play me like a cello”, I literally cringed, I felt second hand embarassment. Don’t get me wrong, romance in a film/novel is great, but when it gets so cheesy it becomes unrealistic, that’s when it becomes a problem. Blackley did an alright job of pulling it off though, so good on him.

Kudos to Chloe Moretz for being able to fake playing cello pretty well. I heard that she actually learned the cello for the role, and I have to say it was pretty convincing. What made me read the novel in the first place was because Mia plays cello, and I am also a cellist, so having a realistic look on cello playing was an important detail to me. However, during her audition, while she was playing, she seemed very technical, but not passionate. But that’s just one complaint against Moretz. Her acting, in my opinion, was very convincing, and I look forward to seeing her again.

There’s a lot of flashbacks in the novel, and though it worked well on page, it didn’t transition onto screen very well. I found the scenes to be very choppy, and because of that, I couldn’t really empathize with what was going on. There was one time I cried, and that was when Kim (Liana Liberato) was talking to “Mia”, and showing her pictures. Getting a bit personal here, I really identified with that part, as I have had a close friend pass away from car accident induced coma.

The ending made me really pissed off, because I hated that it was Adam that woke Mia up. It made the film seem like even more of a teen flick than it already was. There’s nothing wrong with a teen movie, but the way there’s so many cliches…I hated it. My only consolation was that the audience who hadn’t read the book(s), was very shocked at the abrupt ending. That was great.

Overall, it was a decent adaptation, and I’m glad I saw it, but I wouldn’t go see it again.

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