Review: If I Stay @ Vue Cinema
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Director: R.J Cutler
Cast: ChloÃ« Grace Moretz, Mireille Enos, Liana Liberato, Lauren Lee Smith, Jamie Blackley, Stacy Keach, Aliyah O'Brien
The kids are typical YA-novel teens, filled with maturity and intelligence beyond their years. They don't dress their age, or talk their age. And to some extent they don't act their age. This is so common in books that one could easily not notice the casual brilliance that basically every popular protagonist possesses. This trope transferred to the screen most obviously through the characters' clothing choices. I'm sure there are some high school students out there wearing blazers and sipping lattes in Starbucks, but it's not really what you expect them to be doing.
Another thing the film is a little heavy on is "deep" phrases - a Nicholas Sparks trailer precluded the film and it put me on high alert for lines such as "maybe we don't make choices, maybe the choices make us" and "are you going to mess up my life?"/"when did a little mess ever hurt anyone?"
The main character, Mia has a different brilliance than most movie teens; music. Not even the kind of musical talent that is "in" at the moment, like a capella or ukuleles. No, Mia is a cellist. She dreams of academic recognition more than fitting in. She is also in a tumultuous relationship with a rockstar frontman, Adam. I'm not sure how I felt about Adam, but his and Mia's relationship was definitely a good reflection of teenage first love, so much so that I teared up over events that were just too strikingly similar to my own experiences.
Mia's existence is thrown into question when she is involved in a car crash that kills her parents. The film's title is a reference to her choice, whether to wake up from the coma or not. She watches her own future unfold before her and weighs up how her past has led her to this situation. With about half-an-hour to go, my friend and I joked about what the most clichÃ©d ending would be. We guessed right, which was slightly disappointing.
I did enjoy the film though. I liked Mia, and am becoming a fan of ChloÃ« Grace Moretz, who has thankfully outgrown her "small child who swears" role. I also loved Mia's family. The interactions between herself her parents and her little brother all seemed very real. I recommend checking this film out if you get a chance, it'd be a good follow up to similar adaptations like The Perks Of Being A Wallflower or The Fault In Our Stars, if you like your YA a bit on the weepy side.
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