Turning young adult novels into films is all the rage in Hollywood these days. Recently an adaptation of "The Giver" by Lois Lowry premiered on the big screen. Before that it was "The Fault in Our Stars" and countless others before that. "If I Stay", based on the novel by Gayle Forman, is the newest movie to be added to the list of YA films. It stars Chloë Grace Moretz, Mireille Enos, Jamie Blackley, Joshua Leonard, Stacy Keach, and Aisha Hinds.
"If I Stay" is about seventeen year old Mia Hall (Chloë Grace Moretz). Mia is a promising young cellist who's life is turned upside down when she has her family are in a horrific car accident. Her life was complicated before, what with Mia having to make a hard discussion between going to Julliard and staying with her first real boyfriend, Adam (Jamie Blackley). Now, it's been made even worse as she's stuck in some sort of "in-between" and is forced to make a decision between life or death.
The film plays to its intended audience, that of teenage girls, whom the movie expects to swoon at the tragic love between Adam and Mia. However, one problem with "If I Stay" is that it doesn't respect this audience. The dialogue is unbelievable and cheesy and it is unlikely that teens will believe in the supposed "epic" love between the film's two musically inclined protagonists. Furthermore, as with "The Fault in Our Stars", "If I Stay" relies too much on emotional manipulation. The film tries very, very hard to be a "serious" film but to this end it completely misses the mark.
"If I Stay" is playing at Bowtie Cinemas in Hartford.