"Isn't it amazing how life is one thing and then, in an instant it becomes something else."
If I stay is the latest film adapted from a YA novel, and even though this movie is in no way aimed towards an adult audience, it does have some moments that aren't as superficial as one would expect coming from this genre. Despite of all the cliches and the melodramatic scenes the story works thanks to Chloe Grace Moretz who is able to hold the film together and get us through all the corny moments. Her chemistry with Jamie Blackley on screen works, although in my opinion their moments together weren't actually the best scenes. When the film focused on the relationship with her parents was when I actually was drawn more to the story, and the few scenes she had with her grandfather, played by Stacy Keach, where the highlight of the film. There is actually a very emotional scene near the end where Keach gives a powerful speech which if were in a better film, critics would be talking about award consideration for his small performance here. Of course that won't be the case because we are talking about a YA novel adaptation filled with flaws. Chloe Grace Moretz gives an inspired performance as well and she is actually what holds this film together. She has four more films coming out this year so hopefully we will get plenty of more opportunities to see her shine in better films. She is an actress who has been in my radar since her role in Kick-Ass and I absolutely love her. The romantic part of the film which is the main attraction for young teenage girls is probably the weakest thing about If I stay considering it's full of cliches. The fact that both these characters are in to music helps out the film because the soundtrack stands out, but at times the romance feels like it's part of a music video clip with beautiful scenery and good looking people. If I Stay fails to break out from the genre conventions and the premise might be a bit far stretched to make much logical sense. It is also very manipulative and at times the scenes are basically introduced to force the audience to let out a couple tears. Having been released only a few months after The Fault in Our Stars also hurts this film because it doesn't handle the emotional scenes as well as that film did. Moretz and Keach are basically the only reason why I'm giving this film 3 stars.
If I Stay was adapted from Gayle Forman's novel of the same name by Shauna Cross (known for Whip It and What to Expect When You're Expecting). Moretz is Mia, a talented cello player who catches the attention of Adam (Jamie Blackley), the rock star of her High School who is actually getting an important break with his band. Adam falls in love with Mia, the shy and quiet girl from school and they quickly begin a relationship. The love story is told through flashbacks as Mia is going through an out of body experience after she suffered a fatal car accident with her family. Her parents and younger brother are all killed in the accident and she is left in a coma. She must decide wether she continues to fight and stay or if she should let go now that her family is gone. How she is given the power to decide is never really mentioned in the film and doesn't make much sense, but we just have to accept it. The parents are perfect which makes the audience feel Mia's pain and loss. There isn't one scene where her parents look like real people because they are constantly portrayed as these cool and perfect parents. It is perhaps a flaw in this film, but I actually enjoyed the scenes they shared with Moretz. It is all pretty much a fantasy aiming to make the audience cry and feel sorry for Mia, but Moretz's grounded and natural performance elevates this otherwise poor film.