review: if i stay (2014)

I CAN’T STOP THINKING ABOUT THIS MOVIE. And it isn’t all positive… There were good parts and bad – but this film resulted in me tossing and turning in bed that night, not being able to get my mind off of it. So I guess in a way, it worked.

Synopsis (IMDB): Life changes in an instant for young Mia Hall after a car accident puts her in a coma. During an out-of-body experience, she must decide whether to wake up and live a life far different than she had imagined.

Ok, so I had very high expectations for this one as I was walking into the theatre. After seeing the trailer about 941024 times, getting all emotional from that 1 minute, plus the fact that they used Outro by M83, plus the fact that I am in love with Chloë Grace Moretz – yeah, I built this one up for myself way too high.

I’ll start on the good things. I got pretty emotional near the end – and there were some tears, which is great (isn’t that a weird thing to say?). Moretz did not disappoint me. While she still looks a little young for her role, her performance convinced me. And yeah, you could say I was moved by this, due to my tossing and turning, and inability to sleep after this movie. Another good thing? The SOUNDTRACK. Oh my lanta, I must download every single song. Listen to it here.

However, my biggest critique about this was that it didn’t get me as emotional as I would have hoped. I really think this has a lot to do with the structure of the film. Taking us through Mia’s (Moretz) past few years before the accident, through a series of flashbacks intertwined with scenes of the recovery of Mia and her family in present time, it just didn’t work. This changing back and forth between emotions usually works for films, but it wasn’t executed very well here. I would start to feel a tiny bit of sadness, and then have it abruptly stopped by a rough edit back to another time. In simpler words, the editors didn’t give me enough time to fully grasp any form of true emotion – just leaving me struggling to realize what my mind was trying to feel. This theme carried through the entire film, all the way to the last second – when it just ended SO abruptly that a few people – including me – actually laughed out loud in the theatre, just stunned at how quickly everything just stopped.

Another critique I have is the huge focus on the boy. I understand that Mia is supposed to be a typical teenage character, and the romance part of stories always draws the crowds in – but I really think the film could have been more effective with a larger focus on developing Mia’s onscreen family relationships. I also was not completely in love with Mia and Adam’s love, so that also didn’t contribute to the overall effect of the film.

One last note, the whole focus on the music was great – and I love anything and everything to do with the arts, but again, it didn’t quite work with this story. I just didn’t believe the passion for some reason.

So yeah, all in all – I was quite disappointed by this one. I was expecting such greatness, and I was so ready to cry and get some tears out, but it didn’t really happen.

just my rating: ★★★½

Other reviews on If I Stay:
Six Sentence Reviews – If I Stay
The Tracks at Christie Road – Movie Review: If I Stay
Books, Movies and More – Did I Read the Same Book?


5 thoughts on “review: if i stay (2014)

    • It’s on my very long “to read” list haha. But yes, definitely! Books are generally better than their film counterparts – the film industry needs to step it up!

      And no worries, loved your review.

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