By Diana Lopez
What would you do if you found yourself having to choose between life and death?
In the end-of-the-summer romance movie “If I Stay,” based on Gayle Forman’s book of the same title, lead character Mia Hall (Chloe Grace Moretz) faces this tough situation. Filled with heartbreaking scenes, this movie tries hard (maybe a little bit too hard) to bring the audience to tears.
Mia, a teenager whose life revolves around cello rehearsals, thinks her biggest worry in life is waiting for an acceptance letter from Juilliard. She also has an unstable relationship with her rock-star-to-be boyfriend, Adam (Jamie Blackley). But just when Mia believes it couldn’t get any harder, she discovers that other decisions will challenge her life in a more dramatic way.
After her family’s car loses control on a snowy morning, Mia wakes up in “limbo.” No one can see or hear her; it’s like she has become a ghost. Yet, she is not dead; her body is in a coma. She finds herself stuck in the hospital where her body is being treated and later finds out that her family didn’t survive the accident.
Although Moretz’s acting was strong and convincing, the movie lacks impact. It seems as if the director, R.J Clutler, was trying to force pity on the audience, which can make it a bit obnoxious at times, like when Mia and Adam fight for the first time. Somewhere in between dialogues, the scene looses its spark and stops feeling real.
The soundtrack, produced in big part by indie rock producer Adam Lasus, completely makes up for it however. The amazing cello and guitar sounds help build some of the more intense scenes and make the movie much more entertaining. One of the best scenes consists of Mia’s beautiful and dramatic Julliard audition.
The movie takes us back to Mia’s most important memories through a series of flashbacks that are filled with opposites and contradictions. On one side we see Mia, a shy girl who enjoys classical music and can sometimes come off as socially awkward. On the other side we see Adam, a singer and guitar player with an outgoing personality and lots of friends. Although complete opposites, both characters manage to complement each other very well.
With a strong love for both her family and her boyfriend Adam, we see Mia struggle to choose life without her family, or the afterlife without Adam and her remaining family members.
For the romantics and classical music lovers, this movie is worth watching.