IF I STAY

Screen shot 2014-08-25 at 11.44.14 AMYet another adaptation of a YA novel wipes out trying to surf the TWILIGHT wave.

This time our perfect high school heroine is a classical cellist who falls for a local Rocker. And then–oh, no–Mom & Dad are killed in a car crash & our heroine must decide whether to join them [presumably in Heaven] or go to Julliard!!!

OMG: So fake! So false!! So totally boring!!!! Screenwriter Shauna Cross should be ashamed of herself. Surely Chloë Grace Moretz (who has been so feisty in prior roles) deserves better. (JLH: 2/5)

Click HERE for our FF2 Haiku. NEVER TO BE SEEN BY RICH!

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Review of If I Stay by Associate Editor Brigid K. Presecky

If I Stay is a tailor-made melodrama for the same girls who crowded theaters for The Fault in Our Stars. But unlike Gus and Hazel dying from terminal cancer, “Mia” (Chloë Grace Moretz) and “Adam” (Jamie Blackley) deal with the future of their high school romance. She wants to play the cello at Julliard; he wants play guitar with his grungy band in Portland. The struggle is real.

The film, based on the 2009 novel by Gayle Forman, takes place in two timelines: one in the hospital, the other in flashbacks. During Mia’s senior year of high school, on a snowy winter day, she and her family drive on an icy, winding road to see her grandparents, but as she solemnly looks at the bracelet Adam gave her, another car crashes into them head-on. The film springboards into its supernatural element as Mia wakes up on at the crash site, transported outside of her body, watching the traumatic event unfold. She witness her own almost-lifeless body get wheeled into the ER as a nurse whispers that the doctors can only do so much; it’s up to her whether she lives or dies. The rest of the 106-minute film bounces back and forth between Mia’s out-of-body experience at the hospital and flashbacks of her past year.

Unlike her easy-going, rocker parents, “Denny” (Joshua Leonard) and “Kat” (Mireille Enos), who provide most of the entertainment in the film, Mia loves classical music and has practiced the cello from a young age. Her talents even catch the eye of musician Adam, who asks her out on a date to the symphony (insert eye roll here). But despite her supportive parents, her love-struck boyfriend, and her extraordinary musical talents, Mia is filled to capacity with self-doubt and insecurity … for no apparent reason.

Flashback after flashback we see how Mia and Adam’s relationship grows, how their love deepens, and how their life choices become tougher as the stakes get higher. Their relationship drama is jolted by the horrific accident and the audience is back at the hospital, watching Chloë Grace Moretz run barefoot through what seems like hundreds of hospital corridors.

The entire film was a whole lot of unnecessary gloom and doom mixed with a cornball love story. I’m only 22 years old and I felt ancient in the movie theater filled with teenyboppers crying their eyes out. But I was that age once and in 2002, when A Walk to Remember debuted in the multiplex, I sat there with tears streaming down my face. Too bad it was pre-social media, or I would have posted a tearful selfie on Instagram with the hash tag “#LandonAndJamie4Ever.” Age could have been a factor in my reaction to the film, but more likely it was the drawn-out, depressing story that kept my emotions at arms length. I found her parents’ love story much more intriguing – either because of Leonard and Enos’ superb acting, or because I’m no longer 12 years old.

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Review © Brigid K. Presecky (8/24/14)

Top Photo: Chloë Grace Moretz as “Mia”

Bottom Photo: Chloë Grace Moretz as “Mia” and Jamie Blackley as “Adam”

DigitalStampAQ: Does If I Stay pass the Bechdel Test?

Yes. There are scenes between Mia and her best friend, “Kim,” (Liana Liberato) particularly in the hospital as Mia lays comatose while Kim encourages her to fight for her life and reminds her that she has a family waiting for her.

Other than that, not really – Mia has a solid relationship with her mom, but even their conversations are restricted to “Julliard or Adam?”

Tags: Brigid K. Presecky, Chloë Grace Moretz, Gayle Forman, If I Stay, Jan Lisa Huttner, Shauna Cross

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