Most of us spend our teen years picking our spots and making dreadful fashion choices. This movie glosses over those awkward teen trivialities and portrays two young, angst-ridden musicians who meet and fall hopelessly in love. ‘If I stay’, is an adaption of the young adult bestseller by Gayle Forman and the perfect representation of a teen love story. The youngsters will die for it.
Mia (Chloë Grace Moretz) constantly doubts herself, the only thing she finds solace in is her love of Beethoven and the cello. Adam (Jamie Blakeley) is a confident, brooding musician. Adam sees her alone in a classroom one day playing her cello, hours after everyone else has left and is entranced by her ethereal beauty. At first, everything is perfect. They hang out with Mia’s rocker parents. They take wintery walks together. They kiss in subtle lighting and stare at one another with intensity. They have ridiculously adult conversations considering they are just seventeen. I imagine they would have been the King and Queen of MySpace, if MySpace was still a thing.
Unfortunately, for the purpose of entertainment, their love isn’t going to be straightforward. Adam graduates and his band brings him on tour for weeks at a time. Mia’s incredible talent pushes her to audition for a place at Julliard. If she is accepted she will have to move across the country, leaving Adam behind.
This storyline is as old as the hills and might have grated quickly, but suddenly Mia is left with a much greater decision than merely choosing between music and her true love. While driving through the snow with her family one afternoon, they end up in a devastating car crash where she drifts out of her unconscious body and witnesses the trauma. Panicked, running ghostlike through A&E, her life and the fate of the rest of her family is uncertain. She is now faced with the decision of whether she should live or die.
This teen drama is a switch for Director RJ Cutler, who previously directed ‘The September Issue’ a provocative look at the formidable world of fashion through the eyes of Vogue editor and mogul Anna Wintour. These young adult movies are always self indulgent but the relationship between the two young lovers is believable and endearing and the addition of other likable characters, notably Mia’s Grandfather (Stacy Keach) and her delightful parents played by Mireille Enos and Joshua Leonard, is a testament to Cutler’s talent as a director.
The final word I will have on this is a small complaint or a query, rather. Why do the teenage girls in these movies always live in the bedroom with the convenient balcony adorned with flowers? Is it because their parents anticipate young men fawning over their daughter through the trees? If my parents had a balcony, I’m pretty sure they would have kept it for themselves for all their al fresco breakfasts of a Sunday. But I guess Shakespeare set a precedent.
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