Quick Movie Review: If I Stay (2014)

After watching such gems, like The Spectacular Now, which hit the nail of teenage romance right on the head, we become picky about what we want to see in terms of that genre. And while comparing the relationships in the two films and trumping one over the other, it’s hard to take the love story between Mia and Adam as serious. Not that they don’t deserve our attention, but much of it seems superficial–at least at first. The cliches are abundant and their relationship doesn’t get real until almost an hour into the movie. But it’s never a natural build-up. Instead, the issues arrive very abruptly–which I guess can happen when two lovers are living in a state of plutonic bliss. Then once it does delve deeper into their romance, it feels like it’s running around in circles, not really tapping into the long distance struggle as much as it could. 

But maybe I just keep getting annoyed with Adam (Jamie Blackley) as a character. He is created too easy to like. Everything he says is “perfect” and “suave” and we aren’t really allowed to form our own opinions about him, rather than seeing him as perfect at first, while unveiling his flaws as the film progresses. But each of his “flaws” (in quotes because they’re never ever stressed) are always quickly forgotten about due to a romantic gesture he does a couple scenes later.

The overlying plot of this film is two people being in love, yet each wanting to follow their respective dreams which would bring them further apart. Given that it’s based off of a book that aims towards preteen and teenage girls, If I Stay definitely does present these ideas with a mature outlook. However, it doesn’t present ENOUGH aspects of this struggle to really understand what’s going on in the character’s heads. Everything is apparent and on the surface. Although, the performances–especially that of Chloe Grace Moretz–make the inner and outer struggles way more convincing. 

Although more mature than its target audience, If I Stay is predictable as ever and may succumb to cheap teenage angst that may have you rolling your eyes. However, how the two plots interlock is very unique and satisfying in the end, and the beautiful songs make for an entertaining film at the very least. And while it did evoke misty eyes, I just wish the plot didn’t feel so repetitive.

Twizard Rating: 79

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