‘If I Stay’ is an adapted film from a popular novel. I am sure this comes as a shock to no one since young adult and graphic novels have been popular in the film industry for the last couple years.
With their increasing popularity, they give actors of all calibers great chances to play a wide assortment of roles. It is the same story with R.J. Cutler’s adaptation of “If I Stay.”
For young Mia Hall (Chloe Grace Moretz), the toughest decision in her life thus far has been whether to pursue her musical talents at the prestigious Juilliard School of Arts or to choose a path with the love of her life, Adam (Jamie Blackley). However, when she is involved in a car accident where her life hangs in the balance, everything changes. Now, caught in between life and death, Mia must make one final decision.
The film stars Moretz, Blackley, Mireille Enos, Joshua Leonard, Aisha Hinds, Liana Liberato and Stacy Keach. R.J. Cutler directs the film, which is based on Gayle Forman’s novel of the same name.
Moretz is one of the best parts of this film. She shows, once more, that a young actress can bring the audiences emotions full circle with her acting capability. When needed, she can take any scene to its fullest potential or leave you desperate for more.
Two other standouts in the film are Keach and Blackley. Keach, who plays Mia’s grandfather, is refreshing for an actor of his age. The amount of sorrow and love he shows in his brief time on the screen is believable and genuine. In his scenes, he cuts through the bull of emotion and shows that there is such a thing as true sentiment.
Blackley, even though he is competing against other actors this year such as Ansel Elgort (“The Fault in Our Stars”) and Theo James (“Divergent”), finds comfort in his role and makes it his own. For a tireless role of a musician boyfriend, Blackley brings a certain and unique level of gentleness.
As with most films of its kind, “If I Stay” sadly does not compare to its book counterpart. Moretz, who most of us know as the young and violent superhero, Hit-Girl, from the “Kick-Ass” series, has tons of heart and patience with this film project.
The film also suffers from its tendency to over-dramatize the young and in love aspect.
We all know that young love can be intriguing and even exciting, but there has to be a noticeable electricity or chemistry between the couple, which just is not the case here.
Flashbacks take on a huge role in this film, which I believe sincerely hurt the film’s chance of being taken as anything other than a sad drama. Some people don’t always want to be in the past and then have the jump to the present.
With a great cast and an intelligent look at the place between life and death, “If I Stay” is an interesting romance flick, but I would not get your hopes up for anything more.
Story by John Gruccio, Contributing writer