A Romantic Snooze Fest | Review of ‘If I Stay’

By: Cynthia Ayala

If I Stay follows a young girl as she is caught between live and death.  But as the movie follows her inner journey and the events that follow, there is little developed to keep this movie afloat.

If_I_Stay_posterDirected by: R. J. Cutler

Written by: Shauna Cross

Based on If I Stay by Gayle Forman

Starring: Chloë Grace Moretz, Mireille EnosJamie BlackleyJoshua LeonardLiana LiberatoStacy Keach, Gabrielle RoseJakob Davies

Genre: Romance, Drama

Mia Hall has her whole life ahead of her. A life at Julliard, her equally musical boyfriend. But when a car hits hers, her whole life is altered in a second. Caught between life and death, Mia must relive the past to determine where her future will take her.

If I Stay stars Cholë Grace Moretz as a teenager caught in limbo, not just in living but also in her decision to continue living. While the movie has a tender undertone to it, the performances fail to express the intent behind the novel.

Over all, the story had a lot of depth behind it as it built up this wonderful and strong family dynamic and the romantic relationship, filled with its highs and lows of two people whose lives take them into different directions when the accident occurs. While the emotion was there, portrayed strongly through the lines and the narrative, the acting was a disappointment.

There was something so facetious, a disconnect between who the actors are and who they were portraying. There’s no disputing the talent that Moretz possess, but there were some scenes within the movie that felt forced whenever she had to portray strong emotion. There was a disconnection between her and her character and the emotions between them. Specifically there was this one scene when she is running down a hall, crying then trips, falling to the floor in tears. That scene should have been heart wrenching, instead it was just painful to watch because it looked incredibly forced and fake. Then her on-screen romance with co-star Jamie Blackley, it did no resonate off the screen. Were they able to act their parts well? Yes, but they could have done better than make this film seem like an adolescent love-sick drama. The story offers so much more, combining music, angst and the paranormal to spin out this story of a girl caught in limbo, a girl whose very soul is wandering around watching her loved ones and replaying the events of her life as she makes the decision of whether or not to continue living or pass on.

This movie has a lot to offer viewers on the surface story wise, but after viewing, it leaves viewers wanting more from the actors and the emotion behind the film. This is a story about love, not just the love between relationships but also family love. It a film about growing, about growing closer and growing apart. Nevertheless, most of the emotion in the film failed to resonate off the screen and turned into a snooze fest.

Sorry, but this was not Moretz best performance. Of course, it’s not just her fault, direction and co-stars also failed to delve into the intensity behind the film. ★★☆☆ (C)

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