Hello once more readers! Today, I made the effort of trekking down to the movie theatres in order to review 'If I Stay' on the day it came out in Australia. Dedication? I think yes. However, I can't exactly say that this little journey was unwilling, because there's no denying that I've been super pumped for this movie for a while now - about a year to be exact. It all came about around this time last year when I kinda sorta started slightly stalking Chloë Grace Moretz's filmography, and from that, discovered that she was in the process of filming this movie. I read the synopsis and was instantly lured, which just intensified my super high expectations for the film. Was it as good as I thought? Did it live up to the hype? You'll just have to read on and discover the answers for yourself.
As I said before, I had pretty mammoth expectations prior to viewing this movie, and I am pleased to announce right off the bat that the film did not fall short of them in the slightest. Luckily, despite its heavy promotion and widespread popularity, the fact that the movie's going to be rather mainstream did not equate to its quality. It didn't feel like it was dumbed down for an adolescent audience, or fabricated only in the hope of selling tickets. And yeah, just a warning before you go and see it, it's going to be sad. Don't get yourself in the mood for a feel-good comedy or anything like that, because this flick definitely doesn't fit the bill. However, saying that, it's not all doom and gloom. Sure, some pretty heavy stuff happens, but there are certainly some glimmers of hope. Before I start critiquing any further, I think it's time we all got the low-down on the plot.
The film centres around wildly talented cellist Mia Hall (Chloë Grace Moretz), an awkward, uptight introvert with her sights set on a career in classical music, her only companion being her best friend Kim (Liana Liberato).
Her parents Denny (Joshua Leonard) and Kat (Mireille Enos), and her brother Teddy (Jakob Davies) are her polar opposites, her dad formerly playing in a rock band and her mother acting as his groupie.
One fateful, snow-ridden day, tragedy strikes the Hall family and Mia is faced with an immense decision - whether to live on as an orphan or die along with her loved ones.
After this incident, we are privy to some extreme flashbacks, and get an insight into the past two years of her life, in which she met rebellious rocker Adam Wilde (Jamie Blackley).
In these little visions, we get to see the relationship blossom between Mia and Adam, and sometimes even manage to forget that everything's gone to hell back in the present day. They begin to embark on a rather typical teen romance, when problems begin to arise regarding their plans after high school.
Will she choose to live or die? You'll have to spend $16 on a ticket to find out. For those of you who haven't read the book or seen the movie yet, I'll stop here with the plot retelling and avoid being brutally murdered by enraged fans. Because trust me, if you don't yet know what happens, there's no way in the world you'll want anything that even resembles a spoiler alert.
I seriously can't express to you how much I enjoyed this movie. Seeing as I haven't read the book, I can't exactly compare the two, however on its own, it certainly doesn't disappoint. The acting was seriously just flawless, and I loved every minute of it. Mia, a character that at some points could've perhaps been perceived as annoying or playing the victim card a lot, was portrayed absolutely beautifully by Chloë. And what's even crazier is that she was 16 when she filmed the movie. 16! That's my age! And how many major motion pictures have I starred in? None whatsoever.
Jamie was also the perfect choice in the role of Adam, because I seriously couldn't see anyone else portraying the character as well and as confidently as he did. I know I may seem picky, but the acting in a movie (specifically one of this nature) just has to be 100% spot-on for me to even vaguely enjoy it, and thankfully, 'If I Stay' starred in my opinion some of the best actors and actresses our generation has to offer (which is seriously a massive call).
I'm not even kidding, it's super hard to find any flaws in the movie at all. Even the soundtrack was amazing! The music just fit so perfectly with the mood of the film, and this may sound strange, but I am actually a bit obsessed with the songs performed by Adam's fictional band (is that weird? I don't even care).
As well as all of this, the film had some really uplifting moments interspersed throughout all the sad, depressing ones. I'm letting you know now, people do die, however in all of the flashbacks they've incorporated into the movie, you still get a chance to get to know the character more and see them develop further even though in the present day, they've already left us.
Despite this though, I still suggest that girls (or guys, let's not pass judgement) perhaps forgo the eyeliner when they go to see it, because you'll be desperately grabbing for the tissue box in the dark more than once.
It's pretty safe to say that the central theme of this movie is all about making tough decisions. Sure, Mia has a pretty hefty one to deal with, but I guess that's able to put into perspective choices we consider to be difficult to make, like whether to order Thai or Indian food for dinner (though seriously, I have no idea!). I guess on top of all the amazing acting, perfect soundtrack and fancy editing, I just really like the concept of the movie. Because seriously, what would you do? I personally would just freak out and run from the decision for as long as I could. But if anything, this film's certainly a conversation starter.
Overall, this is seriously a flick that you need to see as soon as you possibly can. It's everything I hoped it would be and more, and I highly recommend it to anyone ever with the ability to comprehend films (which I'm hoping is all of you). I'll just warn you now, you may spend the majority of the movie screaming (internally at least) at the screen the following:
Or at least you'll have picked a side of the whole 'should she stay or should she go' debate.
I have to let you in on a small secret now, the movie does end rather abruptly. However, really, there's no other way it could've ended in my opinion. If they had decided to drag it out, the last couple of seconds wouldn't have been so poignant and meaningful. Trust me, you have every right to be confused, but don't worry, just watch the movie and everything will be crystal clear.
Congratulations on officially reaching the end of my rather extensive review! I don't know if you've got the message yet or not, but I really want you to go out and see this movie! Right now. I'm serious, go do it. You won't regret it in the slightest. And better yet, why not hop onto iTunes and purchase the soundtrack as well, because did I mention it's amazing? Just go and complete these tasks immediately and make me happy. Til' next time . . .