Movie Review : If I Stay

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Mia (Moretz) is a girl on the brink of womanhood. A musically gifted cellist, she is the child of bohemian type free spirits Kat (Enos) and Denny (Leonard) and under their gentle yet strong guidance, she has applied for a scholarship to New Yorks’s Julliard School.

As well as finishing high school and perhaps moving across the country to college, Mia is also in the process of re-evaluating her relationship with boyfriend Adam (Blackley). Adam, a few years older than Mia and also a musician, is lead guitarist in a band that are on the brink of fame. The couple had agreed to live together once Mia finished high school but obviously her application to Julliard threatens their plans.

Mia is in every sense at a crossroads in her life. On the day the Julliard acceptance letters are due to arrive, the family are involved in a terrible car crash and as Mia hovers between life and death, a nurse whispers to Mia that the doctors have done all they can and from now, whether she lives or dies, it’s all up to her.

The rest of the movie sees Mia either moving around the hospital to check on her family, and in the process witnessing the grief of those who wait at the hospital for news on her condition or she is revisiting the last few years of her life, with most of the focus on her relationship with Adam.

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Moretz is engaging as the quiet, slightly uptight nerdy girl who attracts the attention of the hot rocker boy at school. She is out-of-place in his world but ultimately refuses to change who she is for anyone.

This is in no small part due to her upbringing, her parents often lamenting how they, rockers at heart managed to produce this girl who preferred Beethoven to Iggy Pop and was so gifted a cellist by 3 years of age, dad sold his drum kit to buy Mia her first cello. Mia’s mother Kat, in particular, is Earth Mother personified, full of sage advice and never relegating her daughter’s love for Adam to teen crush status. I liked Kat best of all.

I am far from this movie’s target demographic and as such found it a little slow at times, but I liked it all the same. I feel a younger audience, who wish they had the cool parents, the hot guitarist boyfriend and a future that included a scholarship to Julliard, will find this movie far more moving. While beautifully shot and acted, this movie is more suited to the tweens, teens and twenties girls.

Love Flick xx

Director :  RJ Cutler

Starring :  Chloë Grace Moretz, Mireille Enos, Jamie Blackley, Joshua Leonard, Liana Liberato, Stacy Keach, Gabrielle Rose, Jakob Davies Ali Milner, Aisha Hinds

Running Time :  107 minutes

Release Date :  28 August 2014

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