Movie Review: If I Stay

If I Stay
is based on the book by Gayle Forman. Based on the trailer and the book, which I have read, I was expecting a tearjerker of a movie, but it really wasn't that sad; most of it was a little overdone. However, it's the music in this film that really holds it together, and as a violinist, I loved the combination of cello and rock music throughout.

Mia Hall (Chloe Grace Moretz) has been playing the cello since she was a little girl, even though her father (Joshua Leonard) was a rocker, and her mom (Mireille Enos) was his biggest fan. She's in the middle of auditioning for colleges, and is thinking of applying to Julliard, even though she lives in Oregon; her musician boyfriend, Adam (Jamie Blackley), wants her to stay on the West Coast. Mia and her family go out on a snowy afternoon to visit some family friends, and get hit head-on by a truck; they're all rushed to the hospital, but, soon enough,(semi-spoiler) Mia is the only one who makes it, though she's in a heavy coma. Mia and her body must decide whether she wants to - or even can - wake up.

The film was primarily told in flashbacks, which was a good idea. We see how Mia grew up playing the cello, how she meets Adam, and how her dad gave up being a rock star because he wanted to put his kids first. I was very surprised that, aside from a scene with Mia's grandfather (Stacy Keach, in a great but small role), this movie didn't have many stirring moments, because, like I mentioned before, the trailer definitely pulls at your heartstrings; the use of the song "Say Something" was perfectly suited to the trailer, too. Liana Liberato also has a small role, as Mia's best friend at her high school.

Yes, see this movie, but only if you like cello and/or rock music or are a teenage girl. Moretz does her best with what she's been given, but the dialogue often seems too contrived/schmaltzy. I loved the music throughout the film, though: rock music from when Mia was little and her parents brought her with them to her dad's shows, to cello music from her present and when she started playing, and then we come full circle when Mia starts going to Adam's band's shows. I have to say that Begin Again has more music, though, so if you can still find that in theaters, I'd recommend that over this movie. Because I'm a fan of Forman's book, I was hoping this wouldn't just be another "teen drama" film; unfortunately, although I overall enjoyed the movie, it mostly sticks to that formula in terms of dialogue and situations.

If I Stay is in theaters today, August 22nd, and is rated PG-13 with a runtime of 106 minutes. 3 stars out of 5.


  1. WOW, sounds like a powerful movie! I like many of the actors in this, so now I have another movie on my to see list!

  2. I read this book and I will say I cried. But if the movie isn't as sad as the book maybe I'll actually go see it. I'm not good at crying in theaters and try to avoid it at all costs haha :)

    1. I read the book but it was a while ago. After the screening, they gave us little preview booklets of If I Stay, Where She Went, and Forman's new 2015 novel, though, and I think the book version was much sadder.

  3. I will probably try to read the book first & then rent it on dvd.

  4. I've seen this book and considered putting it on the bookshelf in my classroom. I am sure that my middle schoolers will love it.

  5. Seems like such a sweet movie, I wanted to go to the screening!

  6. Definitely looks like one I would have loved as a teenager.

  7. One of my girl friends is seeing this tonight! She seems pretty jazzed about it. It sounds really interesting!!

  8. I always love reading your honest reviews! I'm glad you mentioned it was a little overdone, but I'm still curious to see this movie myself too.

  9. I'll be seeing this one on blu-ray so I can cry in


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