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If I Stay Movie Review

Reviewed by on Aug 25, 2014
Rating: 4 Star Rating

Kidzworld was all weepy for the film adaptation of the popular YA novel “If I Stay”. Check out our movie review of the Chloë Grace Moretz sad romance.

By: Lynn Barker

Sometimes timing in life just sucks! High schooler Mia, a whiz/prodigy on the cello, is finally trying out for the prestigious Julliard School in NYC but she’s also head over heels for her hot rocker guy Adam whose band is climbing the charts…on the other side of the U.S.

Mia (Chloë Grace Moretz) with her little brotherMia (Chloë Grace Moretz) with her little brotherCourtesy of Warner Bros.

Mia’s Hot Prospect

17-year-old Mia Hall (Chloë Grace Moretz) practices her beloved cello (she is awesome, mega-good on it) in a high school classroom and popular rocker cutie Adam (Jamie Blackley of Snow White and the Huntsman) is totally drawn to her talent and looks. Clueless about dating, Mia is nervous but excited on their first date to see a famous cellist at the local Portland Symphony. He’s all in. “Too late to escape. I see you”. She is hoping for acceptance at music mecca Julliard. Can Adam change this?

Mia's try out for JulliardMia's try out for JulliardCourtesy of Warner Bros.

Fateful Snow Day

When Mia’s close-knit family; dad (Joshua Leonard), mom (Mireille Enos) and little bro Teddy (Jakob Davies), pile into the family car for a fun road trip on a snow day when school is cancelled, tragedy strikes and the slick road causes a horrible car crash that puts Mia in a coma on the razor’s edge of life and death.

Mia and Adam cuddle in the snowMia and Adam cuddle in the snowCourtesy of Warner Bros.

Out of Body Adventures

Mia’s “spirit” wanders the hospital as her loved ones gather; her best friend, her grandparents. She seeks her mom, dad and brother. Not everyone could have survived…and where is Adam?

Spirit Mia in the hospitalSpirit Mia in the hospitalCourtesy of Warner Bros.

Flashbacks to Love and Loss

Mia remembers how she and Adam grew closer despite their range in musical interests. She grew to love his band but, in the beginning, felt out of place with his friends. None the less, they hooked up and realized that it’s true love for both. When Mia applies to Julliard, Adam, often left behind as a child, feels that he will be abandoned if she goes to NYC to school. His life is doing gigs on the West coast. They break up, yearn for each other and reunite more than once.

Adam (Jamie Blackley) fronts his bandAdam (Jamie Blackley) fronts his bandCourtesy of Warner Bros.

The Ultimate Decision

Mia’s grandpa (Stacy Keach) talks to her comatose body, saying he wants her to stay and fulfill her dreams but she can go if it’s what she wants. Adam returns to her bedside after their latest break up, feeling guilty and expressing his love. Friends and family say a tentative goodbye to her, one by one. Her memories continue to flow. As a friendly nurse tells her, “Whether you stay or go is up to you”. Should she fight to “stay”? Can she live her life with the horrible changes she must face?

Mia with her Grandpa (Stacy Keach)Mia with her Grandpa (Stacy Keach)Courtesy of Warner Bros.

Wrapping Up

Both Chloë Grace Moretz and Jamie Blackley do some very believable acting in If I Stay and they do seem to have chemistry. All acting is quite good. Stacy Keach, as Grandpa, makes a heart-rending plea to the comatose Mia (Chloë) that is just amazing. I must say I didn’t get to read the book but the family, as portrayed in the film, is almost too perfect. You would kill for parents like these! Even for such a supportive little brother!

Mia and Adam (Jamie Blackley) at dinnerMia and Adam (Jamie Blackley) at dinnerCourtesy of Warner Bros.

Jumping around from current time back to Mia’s memories is, at times confusing but this may have been how the book was structured as well. Mia and Adam’s romance is on again off again and jerks the audience around a little too much. If I Stay really pulls us from tears to romantic warm and fuzzies and back again in melodramatic mayhem but, does it “get” you? Sure.

Mia with her cool mom dressed for HalloweenMia with her cool mom dressed for HalloweenCourtesy of Warner Bros.

You will probably enjoy the music; both that performed by Adam’s band (hey, Jamie is a pretty good singer and guitar picker) and Mia’s classical, intense cello playing (Chloë isn’t really playing. Her head was placed on a young cello virtuoso’s body with computer magic).

Adam, Mia and best friend KimAdam, Mia and best friend KimCourtesy of Warner Bros.

Behind the film’s action is an exploration of different kinds of love as the film asks “What really makes a family?” Can romantic love fill a yearning for lost family? Can BFF love be as strong or stronger than “blood” connections?  Often, it is our friends we bond to, especially when facing devastating life changes.  Yes, the film gets a bit slow at times but it is heartfelt throughout, well-intentioned and involving, especially for a PG-13 audience. We go 4 stars.

If I Stay Movie Rating: 4


If I Stay is in theaters now!