Review: If I Stay

By Hazel Torres

"If I Stay" (Photo courtesy of Warner Bros.)

“If I Stay” (Photo courtesy of Warner Bros.)

Still hung over The Fault In Our Stars? Then here’s another romantic teen tearjerker film for your viewing pleasure.

Based on Gayle Forman’s bestselling 2009 novel with the same name, If I Stay is a story about a young classical cellist named Mia (Chloe Grace Moretz) who ironically grew up in a family of former punk rocker parents Kat (Mireille Enos) and Denny (Joshua Leonard), together with her cute little brother Teddy (Jakob Davies).

"If I Stay" (Photo courtesy of Warner Bros.)

“If I Stay” (Photo courtesy of Warner Bros.)

One fateful snowy day, the family decides to take a trip to visit Mia’s grandparents but sadly gets in a tragic car accident along the way. Mia, in an out-of-body experience due to her comatose state, helplessly watches her family fight for their life–and lose. Consequently, she is tormented into a major dilemma whether to choose to fight or, with her mom and dad and brother gone, just give up.

"If I Stay" (Photo courtesy of Warner Bros.)

“If I Stay” (Photo courtesy of Warner Bros.)

The movie uses a series of flashback sequences from Mia’s life before the accident, highlighting her sweet love story with popular up-and-coming rock band star Adam Wilde (Jamie Blackley). Their story shows the bittersweet struggles of teenage love, long-distance relationship, and pursuing each other’s individual dreams.

"If I Stay" (Photo courtesy of Warner Bros.)

“If I Stay” (Photo courtesy of Warner Bros.)

I understand that throughout the movie, Mia is but a spirit that can’t interfere with real life. However, some of those spirit scenes I found kind of bizarre bordering on nonsensically funny. The romantic scenes were also, at times, quite cheesy but Chloe Grace Moretz and Jamie Blackley’s chemistry really made up for it.

"If I Stay" (Photo courtesy of Warner Bros.)

“If I Stay” (Photo courtesy of Warner Bros.)

Which is why my favorite parts are some of the flashbacks, such as Mia’s Juilliard audition, wherein Moretz very believably plays a cello; the bonfire scene where everyone’s singing along to a really nice soundtrack; and, most especially, the poignant scene with Mia’s grandfather (Stacy Keach), which was very moving.

"If I Stay" (Photo courtesy of Warner Bros.)

“If I Stay” (Photo courtesy of Warner Bros.)

I can’t personally comment on how faithful the movie is to the book, because I haven’t read the novel. But I think the movie does a good job in capturing the essence of teenage romance, tragedy, and death.

"If I Stay" (Photo courtesy of Warner Bros.)

“If I Stay” (Photo courtesy of Warner Bros.)

Overall, I think that If I Stay the movie will really appeal to teens, young adults and, of course, hopeless romantics.

 

If I Stay, distributed by Warner Bros., is now showing in Philippine cinemas. For tickets, click here, here, or here

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