If I Stay


Official movie poster

Amy Tishler, Reporter

If you are expecting “If I Stay” to be another heart-wrenching film like “The Fault in Our Stars,” leave your Kleenex at home.  With the exception of a couple of sad scenes, this is mostly a sappy teenage romance.

The movie follows the plotline of the book, “If I Stay” by Gayle Forman, almost to a tee.  The viewer accompanies seventeen-year-old Mia Hall, an aspiring cellist, through an out-of-body experience she has after her family gets into a car crash.   Hovering between life and death, Mia must examine her life and choose whether or not to wake up from a coma.  Primarily–and rather nauseatingly–her decision hinges on whether or not her long-haired, rocker boyfriend Adam loves her enough to make life worth living.  The movie alternates between flashbacks from the past eighteen months of Mia’s life and scenes of friends and relatives gathering at the hospital.

While the premise of the movie is unique and the first ten minutes are dramatic, the rest of the film moves slowly and isn’t always entertaining. The transitions to the flashbacks are choppy and confusing, and a few of the flashbacks do nothing to enhance the viewer’s understanding of Mia’s life.  Chloë Moretz’s performance also leaves much to be desired.  She delivers her lines in a monotone voice and her facial expressions lack sufficient emotion.  The supporting actors Stacy Keach (Gramps) and Liana Liberato (Kim), however, deserve recognition for their believable performances.

The saving grace of the movie is the music.  The main melody, Bach’s “Prelude,” always comes into the film at just the right time.  Classical music is masterfully mixed with rock, including several original pieces played by Adam’s band, Willamette Stone. In my mind, the only explanations for “If I Stay” placing third in the box office are the trailer and the soundtrack.