'If I Stay'
Director: RJ Cutler
Cast: Chloe Moeretz
Yet another Young Adult novel turned into a book. Yet another reason for movie buffs to roll their eyes in boredom and yawn. Yet another failed attempt by Hollywood to cash in on the YA genre. This is a cycle that seems to go on forever even though no one seems to want any more films like this one.
'If I Stay'
As is the case with Young Adult novel-based movies, there is a super strong female character played by a young and extremely talented actress – Chloe Grace Moeretz plays the protagonist this time. For a change, Moretz gets to play a normal teenager in this movie. She has played a truly hardcore version of a teenager in movies like Kick Ass and Let the Right One In, and though it is difficult to point out any problems in her performance, it becomes increasingly difficult for the audience to separate her persona from her character. It doesn’t help that the narrative falls flat completely.
Moeretz plays Mia, a young girl who experiences her first crush, then her first kiss, then her first love and relationship. All of these elements are trivial in cinema but in If I Stay, they’re made to seem really important. The plot kicks in when Mia slips into a coma and turns into a ghost who must choose between going back to her broken body and following the white light to give in. It’s cheesy as hell, and the execution is just as schmaltzy as you’d expect it to be. Director RJ Cutler seems to have ignored what made the Hunger Games movies so popular – they had a real sense of loss and danger without resorting to unending melodrama. The clichés keep tumbling across in the second half, ticking every single box of the mediocre romantic drama YA adaptation.
Moeretz is undoubtedly one of the most talented actors in the industry – just watch her performance in 500 Days of Summer, if you’re not convinced. She’s terrific in this film as well, towering over the utter lack of creativity going on in the story. Despite the flaws, however, one suspects this film might get some eyeballs in the afternoon TV time slot. There are a few people in the world who do love a bit of painful melodrama against all odds.