‘If I Stay’ leaves audience never wanting to leave

'If I Stay' leaves audience never wanting to leave

Warner Brothers


Readers who loved the novel will not be disappointed when they go to see the big screen version of If I Stay. The film brings the tale of Mia Hall to life, immersing the viewer completely into her struggles and heartbreak as she deals with the difficult decision of living or dying.

Based on the novel by Gayle Forman, If I Stay is a modern day story that takes place in Portland, Oregon. The story centers on Mia, a high school student, and her boyfriend Adam. The tale takes the reader through Mia and Adam’s love story, including their joys, trials, and heartbreaks. Through tears, laughter and more than a bit of irritation when appropriate, If I Stay leaves the viewer feeling satisfied and wanting to see it again and again.

Hall, played by Chloe Grace Moretz, is involved in a serious car accident while going to visit her grandparents on a snow day. She awakens in the snow on the side of the road and sees herself lying on the ground, surrounded by paramedics. After being taken to the hospital and diagnosed with multiple injuries, it becomes apparent to the viewer that Mia is now in charge of whether or not she wakes up to stay with her grandparents and boyfriend, Adam, or lets herself die to be with family members killed in the accident.

The movie takes a bit of a slow start to introduce a few of the main characters and the plot. The screenwriter keeps things interesting by showing viewers the typical teenage-parent interaction between Mia and her mom and dad, which moviegoers of all ages can relate to. Soon enough, though, every scene and transition seems to flow perfectly and keeps viewers engaged, on the edge of their seats, and at an emotional breaking point.

Bringing life, love, humor and heartbreak to life are the all-star cast, including Chloe Grace Moretz, Jamie Blackley, Mirelle Enos, Joshua Leonard and Stacy Keach.  Moretz and Blackley have incredible chemistry and make the scenes flow perfectly, even when the dialogue is slightly cheesy. Moretz, an up-and-coming star, is well-known for her title role in the film Carrie, and she got her start in the film series Kickass 1 and 2. The star is taking on a new genre of film in her upcoming movie The Equalizer, in which she plays a prostitute. Moretz stars opposite Denzel Washington, who serves as her protector and mentor.

If I Stay is scored well, and each song and sound adds to the effect and meaning of each scene. Perhaps the greatest part of the film’s soundtrack is the fact that the main characters, Mia and Adam, are both musicians and perform several of their songs live. This not only adds to the effect of the scene but gives the viewer clearer insight into the personality and values of each character. The soundtrack includes songs such as “Until We Get There” by Lucius, “All of Me” by the Tanlines and “Morning” by Beck.

Though hard to get used to at first, director R.J. Cutler does a fantastic job of switching back and forth between present events and flashbacks, which keeps the viewer engaged and completely informed about what is occurring and why. However, this structure also prevents the viewer from knowing anything before Mia is aware of it, which adds to the film’s entertainment value.

If I Stay, though an incredibly well-done and touching film, is not for all audiences. Due to its foul language, mature scenes and tragic plot line, children under the age of 13 should be accompanied by an adult. The targeted audience of this film is mainly teenage girls, which is why boyfriends, brothers and boys in general will not find it to be as impressive as their female peers. However, for the targeted audience or anyone willing to go in with an open mind, If I Stay will leaves the viewer feeling satisfied through tears, laughter and more than a bit of irritation when appropriate. It’s one worth watching again and again.