Following on the tail of young adult tragic romance movie “The Fault in Our Stars” comes another tear-jerking film adaptation of another of Gayle Forman’s books, “If I Stay.” People who dislike vomit-worthy dialogue and cheesy melodramatic acting should probably avoid this movie like the plague.
However, as a female who secretly dreams of Prince Charming with his white horse and romantic gestures, this movie contains the perfect amount of tear-flowing, romantic scenes and gushy love language for me.
Mia, played by Chloë Grace Moretz, is the black sheep of her family. Born to ex-rockers Kat and Denny, played by Mireille Enos and Joshua Leonard, respectively, Mia shies away from the helter-skelter, rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle to fall in love with the cello’s classical tone.
That is, until she meets high school rocker Adam, played by Jamie Blackley. Despite their differences, a romance sparks and the two quickly become hot and heavy for each other. If you’re curious as to how corny the dialogue can get, on the night of Mia’s deflowering, Adam whispers to her, “It’s like we are playing music together.”
The movie, told in frames, shows Mia’s family driving along an ice-covered road when one oncoming car changes Mia’s life forever. Her entire family’s lives are in danger and Mia slips into a coma.
While lying on a hospital bed, her ghostly consciousness wanders around the hospital, watching her friends and family as they cope with the accident. Scenes flash back and forth between the hospital’s morose atmosphere to Mia’s seemingly perfect, pre-accident life.
Her parents are the coolest people in the world, encouraging Mia and her younger brother to live life to the fullest and deal with the consequences after. Once Mia says goodnight to Adam and Mia’s mother whispers through the window for her to go out and have some fun. Where were these parents when I was in high school?
Mia’s relationship with Adam seems like a fairytale. Though he plays the rough-and-tumble rocker guy, he is sensitive and caring and is a complete gentleman to Mia.
As Adam’s music career takes off, he finds himself on the road more and more, leaving Mia behind. This strains their relationship, especially when Mia decides to audition for Julliard, a prestigious fine arts college in New York.
Like all high school relationships, they vow they will always love each other despite the distance.
However, this movie extends beyond the mundane teenage drama present in most young adult films.
As Mia is lying in a coma, a nurse tells her she must find the will to live within herself, that staying on earth requires more self-will than medical ability. She battles through loss after loss until it seems returning to reality is pointless. Viewers watch as her family struggles with the trauma of the accident.
In one beautiful scene, Mia’s grandfather sits beside his comatose granddaughter and tells her it is OK to let go. For anyone who has struggled with the loss of loved one, it is easy to empathize with Mia’s family. Mia must find within herself the will to survive because of a hope for a better future.
“If I Stay,” directed by R.J. Cutler, is rated PG-13 for thematic material and some sexual content, and is playing at Conway’s Cinemark Theater.