Bring tissues to ‘If I Stay’

“Life is this big fat gigantic mess but that’s the beauty of it too.” “If I Stay” is a film about not closing the door on oneself. It shows us that even in the worst of times one can still find the good. The film centers on a teenage girl named Mia, played by Chloe Grace Moretz. Mia reflects on her life as a spirit who must decide whether or not she should return to her comatose body and continue to live after a fatal car accident. 

The opening scene in the movie shows Mia, her younger brother Teddy, and her parents in the kitchen getting ready to leave for school and work. The dynamic of the family is shown perfectly in this scene. Mia’s parents are former rockers who calmed down after they had kids but still own their cool vibe. Mia’s younger brother Teddy is the perfect blend of the parents, he’s outgoing and loves rock music. Then there’s Mia, the outsider in the family. She is close with them, but she disconnects because her passion in life is classical music and playing the cello. Mia is awaiting her acceptance letter from Julliard.

Mia’s family hears on the radio that school is cancelled for a snow day. Her parents talk her into taking a family road trip to take her mind off it and to enjoy the day off. The road trip sets up the whole movie when the family gets into a fatal car accident due to the bad weather. Mia soon realizes her spirit has left her body and she then watches the events unfold around her and reflects on what she has left in life. She must decide to stay and live or to let go of life to be with her family. 

The film is divided into two stories, Mia’s out of body experience in the hospital and flashbacks to important memories in Mia’s life; Predominantly, Mia’s former romance with her high school love Adam. Adam was mesmerized by Mia the day he first laid eyes on her. Adam is a rocker, very different than Mia, but they connect over their passion of music. Over a year and a half Mia and Adam fell madly in love but their breakup comes when they both decide to pursue their passion of music.

Adam’s band is touring and gaining more success while Mia has aspirations of playing the cello at Julliard, a school across the country. When Adam shows up at the hospital Mia must make a decision. Mia has to decide whether these memories of her life including her passion for the cello and love for Adam are important enough for her to continue to live without her family.

I loved this movie and would definitely recommend it. Going to a movie can be pricey and when I leave feeling like I got my money’s worth I know it was a good movie. I only had a few minor complaints about this movie. It is a movie about love; love between Mia and her parents, Mia and her brother, Mia and the waiting room full of people who loved her, and Mia and Adam. Mia and Adam’s love story was overwhelmingly shown, which I understand was crucial to the film and Mia’s decision-making process. However, I was bothered that they did not pay more attention to the loss of her family. The few scenes that show Mia and her family give the audience a sense of how close the family is and the impact they have on her life. 

“If I Stay” follows the trend of a young adult book-turned to-movie adaptation. The book was written by Gayle Forman. Forman served as an executive producer of the film and was heavily involved to make sure the film was done right to please all audiences. The film adaptation does a good job completing the story and staying true to the book. Fans of the book know that the film ends rather abruptly to set the stage for the sequel “Where She Went.” Unfortunately, moviegoers must accept and hope for a screen adaptation of the sequel as well.