If I Stay is schmaltz aimed squarely at an adolescent audience. Needless to say, fans of the novel the film is based on will eat up this offering.
Life changes in an instant for talented young musician Mia. When an accident puts her in a coma, Mia must decide whether to wake up, knowing her world has changed forever…
Based on Gayle Forman’s novel, If I Stay is a sentimental drama aimed at a female teenage audience. The film’s premise is fairly decent. There are shades of Sliding Doors, and other ‘what if’-based movies, to be found in the film’s plot.
If I Stay is sentimental teenage drama writ large. The question at the centre of the film is no doubt a formidable one. Screenwriter Shauna Cross and director R.J. Cutler ring out Mia’s decision as much as possible. If I Stay is certainly a tearjerker, with the filmmakers squeezing every drop of sentiment. The various interactions Mia has will doubtlessly set certain viewers off, depending on how much they identify with the particular relationship.
Protagonist Mia is a likeable character. There is something ordinary about her, despite her talent, that Cutler has succeeded in capturing. Mia is not so out of touch that the films target demographic will not be able to identify with her. Chloë Grace Moretz delivers a good performance as Mia. She is believable as a young girl in love, yet determined in her musical talent. Jamie Blackley is well cast as the young rock star, although he falters in some of the film’s more dramatic moments. Mireille Enos is decent as Mia’s mother.
The main issue with If I Stay is that the script is so cloying, more cynical viewers will be hard pressed not to guffaw at certain moments. Every other utterance appears to be oozing with sentiment or heartfelt advice. The film would be more palatable to a wider audience if the dialogue was more genuine. Nevertheless, for those looking for a tearjerker, If I Stay is just the ticket.