WRITTEN BY: Shauna Cross
DIRECTED BY: R. J. Cutler
STARRING: Chloe Grace Moretz, Jamie Blackley, Mireille Enos, Joshua Leonard, Stacy Keach
RATING: 4 stars
Bring lots of tissues and have a good cry when you watch If I Stay. If you do not enjoy those Nicholas Sparks style romantic/sad films then do not even bother reading any further, but if you like being drawn into tragic first love tales, then you will probably get swept up in If I Stay. It has a sweet story, adorable characters and a believable cast. While the film gets a little melodramatic in parts and the final 15 minutes drags on, you cannot help but be sucked into the drama.
Adapted from Gayle Forman's novel, If I Stay is about a teenager named Mia (Chloe Moretz) who seems to have everything going for her. She has a hot boyfriend named Adam (Jamie Blackley) who is in a successful local band and her own talents as a cellist could see her land a position at the prestigious Juilliard school. She also has two former rock star parents (Mireille Enos and Joshua Leonard) and a little brother – all of whom support her in pursuing her dreams. But on one snowy day, the family take a drive and end up having a serious crash. Mia falls into a coma and her spirit begins watching her family and friends react to the news. As she lays in the hospital bed, it is all up to Mia to decide whether or not her life is worth fighting for or whether she should let go of her life.
Moretz is fantastic, as she so often is, and I am enjoying watching her career progress. She has great chemistry with Blackley, who oozes the charm that teenage girls will swoon over. Enos and Leonard also give great performances as possibly the coolest parents ever depicted on screen, while Stacy Keach plays Mia's grandfather and gives a heartbreaking speech towards the end of the film that left me shedding more than a few tears.
What I really liked about this film is that it is not just a sappy love story. There are real themes about life and a teenager's relationship with their parents. In fact, the most touching speeches that made me cry were more about the family than the romance. The protagonists are on the cusp of adulthood and yet they seem to be far more self-aware and intelligent than most teenagers I have ever known. If you can accept that, then you can enjoy the journey with them. This is a film that teenagers need to see.