Surprise, surprise another weekend, another movie based off of a book. I start my review off this evening with the latest popular drama entitled If I Stay… Why we have yet another somber, emotion engorged screenplay when we just had one, I will never know, but Hollywood is eating up the profits from movies like this. So with the hot little topic these movies are at the moment, I go once more into the dimly lit theater to determine if this movie is worth your hard earned money. What is my verdict? Like always, please read on to find out.
The key factor that these movies go for is the ability to bring about some type of emotion. If I stay is no different, though in this flick… you can pretty much guess what emotion is filling the screen. From the trailers, one should be prepared to go in for a tear jerker movie, filled with sad and morbid factors for the whole nine yards. In my theater, there were plenty of emotional fans crying, gasping, sobbing, and any other description you can think of as Mia (Chloë Grace Moretz) faces her trial of choosing to live. Before you turn away though, If I Stay surprisingly has some happy emotions to it as well, spread amongst the misery to help lighten the mood. Perhaps this is what kept me interested in the movie, as the delivery did a nice job balancing both happiness and sadness. Integrating the disaster amidst memories of Mia’s life is a great approach, helping to establish and develop a backstory without giving it all away at the beginning. While I’m sure fans of the book already expected this, but I appreciated the development of the relationships with her family and friends, gradually building up to where the movie starts. The timing of these memories was spot on, each memory slightly deeper as Mia fights to hang on to life, using a different aspect of her life to carry on. Of course, the movie is full of morals about the various components of life, each done in an artistic fashion that is filled with glorified movie magic. One can certainly appreciate what the story has to teach, enough to oversee a little of the cheesiness in some of the scenes and dialog.
Of course the balanced emotions are only one part of the strengths of this movie. The acting is not half bad, with Moretz doing a good job at playing the awkward girl role. Moretz is dynamic and I enjoy her broad spectrum of characters she can play and the way she brings her lines to life. In this role she gets to act like a real person, reacting to the situations life deals her as she tries to break out of her comfort zone. Yet, for me there was a little too much crying and weakness in this character, her drawn out rants of crying and screaming a bit taxing for my patience. Of course this fits with the theme of the movie though and helps one relate to the turmoil she is feeling. Playing her opposite is Jamie Blackley who is perhaps the central point in Mia’s world. Blackley’s character is an attempt to represent the wild, unruly side, but his character is more relaxed than wild. The audience will get more than their fill of his songs that fit well with the scene he brings to life. However, some of the songs are simply shoved down our throats in an attempt to promote the actor’s talent at singing songs that sound all the same, (like a Taylor Swift album). Regardless, I like how real his character is, and not some extreme, high on life, rogue whose bad boy attitude has all the girls swooning. The rest of the cast was fine, and well fitted into the story, but they were all rotating around the giant love relationship in this movie.
This brings me to the next part of the review, some of the weaker aspects of the movie. Despite the relationship being a little more realistic than others, it still has its moments of sheer fantasy and movie magic that sob lovers will enjoy. The predictable nature of the movie is also a bit old as well. While I did enjoy the balance of memories in the story, it was obvious where the tale was going with the underlying themes in it. Such predictability is overshadowed by the slow pace of this movie, as the lack of any exciting events leads to movie to be slightly boring. I’m still weaning myself away from the action, but this movie seemed to go around in circles instead of covering any forward ground. One minor thing is while I normally love songs that help bring out the emotions in the scene, this was a little too somber for my taste. Soft and classic rock fans will rejoice in the soundtrack, but it just didn’t do much for me in this movie, and once or twice made me very sleepy.
Overall If I stay is an emotional tale that drama lovers I feel will love. It’s got great life lessons, an intertwined tale of both joy and sorrow, and some decent acting that fit well to bring the novel on the screen. Yet, don’t let the trailers and commercials overhype the movie, nor should you go in comparing it to the book. While I have not read the novel, my track record leads to usually disappointment, so try and block that mindset if you can. Is it worth a trip to theater? My opinion is not really, as there is very little quality that would look better on a bigger screen. Truth be told it’s a great girls night out movie, or a movie you can treat your significant other too in hopes of getting reciprocation. The scores for the film are:
Movie Overall: 6.5