If I Stay is the much anticipated film attempt at the best selling book of the same name. Right now, it’s rocking number 3 at the box office because let’s be honest, people love movies where young people might die. The movie starts out with Mia Hall (Chloë Grace Moretz), who initially thought the hardest decision she would ever face would be whether to pursue her musical dreams at Juilliard or follow a different path to be with the love of her life, Adam (Jamie Blackley). Enter a snowy Oregon night and an inattentive driver and suddenly, Mia is in a coma. For one day, she is trapped between life and death, trying to make the decision to snap out of it or let go. As if that premise wasn’t depressing enough, toss in a lot of melodrama and you have the perfect recipe for a young adult hit. The movie goes too far. It’s too much sap, too much symbolism and too much melodrama with no humor. The coma is not treated realistically, and I’m not just talking about her out of body experiences. I’m pretty sure if the majority of young, beautiful people with their whole lives in front of them were trapped in a coma, they would immediately opt out. But this chick can’t decide whether or not to wake up. That’s the whole premise of the movie. Her deciding to stay.
The answer should be an easy yes. She’s not maimed, she’s not in “please put a pillow over my face” terminal illness pain. She’s just taking a short nap and she can wake up whenever she wants. One character I did like was her boyfriend, who was a bit of a cliché but a fun one. Adam is the bad boy nonconformist to Mia’s empty cello playing life. For the roll, Blackley did well and I found this to be a young actor to watch. My only problem was his music. I mean, the guy is supposed to be this huge nonconformist, then when he plays his music, it sounds like a souped up version of Dave Mathews. For a movie that’s supposed to be character driven, it’s not very character developed. Mia comes off as this teen-angst filled good girl who suddenly develops borderline personality disorder. Adam is the requisite bad boy with a heart of gold. Here’s the major problem with this movie; everyone is too perfect. The parents love the boyfriend, who loves them right back. Mia loves everyone and no one ever fails. The beginning of the movie shows her boyfriend opening for a major rock band in ‘flash to the future’ section…The optimism of youth.
She’s given no reason to not want to stay! Now, if her mom had been a crack head, she had an alcoholic father and was a GED dropout with a meth dealing boyfriend, then I could understand the major conflict. If your life is terrible, then you have a reason to not want to return to it. But “I can’t decide between the finest musical school in the world or my perfect boyfriend”? Talk about your first world problems. If YOU stay at the theater for this one, you’ll have plenty of company for your nearly 2 hour nap. My recommendation is save it for that chick you’re trying to impress…you know, the one that liked Twilight.