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Movie Reviews

If I Stay




Director: R.J Cutler

Stars: Chloë Grace Moretz, Mireille Enos, Jamie Blackley

Released: 29th August 2014 (UK)

Did you guys enjoy The Fault In Our Stars? Good, well prepare yourself for the emotional onslaught  that is If I Stay. I can’t fully go into what the plot of If I Stay is otherwise some of the emotional punches will lack, well, their punch. Starring Chloe Grace Moretz and Jamie Blackley If I Stay is about a wonderfully timid musician, Mia who is waiting for her big news; if she got into Juilliard. To get her mind off an issue that is clearly driving her mad, the family decide to go out for a drive where everything changes forever.

If I Stay is about a young woman’s journey to adulthood and the issues she has to face along the way. The movie takes an interesting idea with an all over the place narrative which Christopher Nolan would admire. The story is told disjointedly with flashbacks giving us all the information on Mia, her family and her punk rocker boyfriend Adam. As the movie builds to its emotional climax you will have a few tears and also maybe a few gripes like I did.

First off, the flashbacks being done in a disjointed fashion were not needed at all. I felt like the director wanted to be overly complex so that at the end of the movie we’d all go, “wow that was so art house”, and instead we get taken out of some really nice moments so we can get back to the present danger troubling our lead. It wasn’t necessary, it wasn’t wanted and it really took away from If I Stay. Not only that but there is another decision that the director made which was again, not needed. Mia is a kind of ghost in the same style as 90’s hit Ghost and is watching her loved ones lament over the events of  the beginning of If I Stay. It’s not needed, it feels incredibly gimmicky and unnecessary. Adding a terrible supernatural element which feels out of place in this grounded and non-supernatural movie. It honestly felt like they wanted  to tap into the Twilight generation and that’s just lazy writing. Now, the cast is pretty spot on but what I did find a bit annoying was the family, who are so in your face happy and so free spirited with their love of music and their punk rock friends. It’s a personal pet peeve of mine and I always hate when there is a family like that in a movie.

On the positive side, the love story in If I Stay is heart warming and quite memorable, Jamie is a cool and convincing male lead, who gives a wonderful performance as Chloe’s first love Adam. If I Stay is helped along with a great soundtrack, some wonderful music from the band for which Adam plays in the movie. Technically, this movie is almost perfect, between a great and emotive soundtrack to the, at times, stunning cinematography, particularly in the early scenes. The only thing that really lets If I Stay down is the transition between the past and present which is very abrupt and takes you out of the scene. What also was a bit unnerving and abrupt was the end, which was okay, just not up to the standard of the rest of the movie.

In the end, If I Stay is well worth a watch, not overtly emotional, wonderfully written and full of memorable characters. Are there some elements that it could have done without? Yes, definitely, but are they huge glaring problems? No. Check out If I Stay with a loved one. Pulls on all the right strings. Moving and memorable.

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