IF I STAY – Rated PG-13
Novelist Gayle Forman takes the reigns as Executive Producer, and joins forces with Director RJ Cutler to bring her bestselling book of young love, family, and tragedy to life with the screen adaptation of IF I STAY.
As we meet the fun-loving and carefree Hall family, Denny – a.k.a. Dad (Joshua Leonard), is the previous punk band lead turned college professor, and Kat – a.k.a. Mom (Mireille Enos) is a loving ex-groupie who now devotes all of her time to her family and part time job. We also get to meet Mia (Chloe Grace Moretz) who is a high school student, and cellist virtuoso, and lest we forget Teddy, the little brother any big sister would have to love because he is so darn cute!
Mia is struggling to find herself, as all teenagers do, when she is approached by Adam (Jamie Blakely), who happens to be one of the hottest guys in school, and who seems to be intrigued by the girl who can play a cello like no other. Adam and Mia start a relationship, as they have a love for music as a common thread – which is vital in any meaningful relationship – as Adam is the lead guitarist and singer in his own band.
Lucky for everyone, a snow day is called for the area, which means no school for Denny, Mia and Teddy, so Kat decides she may have caught a cold, ha,ha,ha, and calls in sick to hang with the FAM, while the snow continues to fall.
They all decide to venture out into the beautiful landscape that surrounds them when – tragedy strikes – and they are hit head on! Mia finds herself thrust into an out-of-body experience, as she must decide if she is going to stay and fight to save herself, and her little brother, or decide that she is ready to head to the other side, as it seems that her mother and father have already gone to a better place…..
I give IF I STAY B+: As you understand the premise of the movie from the trailer – even if you haven’t read the book – you know that this film is definitely not going to be a pick me up as they say. The acting is good, as Moretz and Blakely are spot on in their roles as star crossed lovers who have to face those teenage trials and tribulations of love, separation and deciding what is best for their futures. Since the movie pretty much revolves around Mia and Adam’s life before the accident – most of the movie is actually played out in memory sequences, which was okay too, but I thought that it could have moved along a little faster, as parts of it really began to drag for me – forcing me to give it it’s B rating. It’s definitely cast to attract all those youngsters who have read the book and who will be flocking to the theater this weekend – as Moretz and Blakely are absolutely adorable together. Yet, I was surprised that I didn’t get as choked up as I thought I would watching this film, as I am always crying according to my daughters. The only thing I can attribute it to is that most of the film is played out with Mia in her out of body experience phase, running through the halls of the hospital, which for me gave it less of an emotional impact of the circumstances actually happening. I did enjoy this film though, and you may want to bring along your Kleenex too, as you may view the circumstances considerably harder than I did throughout the film. If there is one film you are heading out to catch for date night this weekend, then IF I STAY is definitely the one to choose. J