I was just minding my own business, answering email and rocking out to Dev, when I got a text. "Free screening of If I Stay?" Why not?? I'm down! (psst...check out my guide for finding free movies here...)
If I Stay stars Chloe Grace Moretz a talented cellist whose struggle is between her "rocker" boyfriend and going to Julliard. (Yes-a touring musician mentions that "long distance dating is like dating a ghost" and not worth discussing). Suddenly, a car accident puts her choices into perspective. Keep reading only if you are okay with spoilers...
As seen in the trailer, her entire family is killed and she must make the decision to stay on Earth or go. The movie shifts between the year before (with Grey's Anatomy-like endless voiceover) and the hospital now (Chloe Grace Moretz walking/running around the hospital as a ghost/spirit).
To be honest, I really enjoyed the first 20-30 minutes of the movie with her rocker parents and best friend. I can enjoy the occasional Lifetime movie for the cheesiness, and I have low expectations for these kinds of movies. Unfortunately, there's no chemistry between the two romantic leads and the plot can't decide what genre it wants to be.
When watching one of the many scenes of the two leads fighting about how to continue their relationship, I kept wondering "why?" Why exactly was this relationship so worth saving? The boyfriend is unwilling to make any sacrifices and Chloe's character doesn't like his touring/partying lifestyle. Ok, great, let's move on. We don't need to keep rehashing it, people!
As for the actual choice to live or die, Chloe's character is just about to go to heaven when she hears a symphony on what seems to be the hospital radio. She whispers "Just one more..." and walks back to her bodily self. (Side note: This could have been a great point to end it on, to show that her love of music has given her new strength to live in a world without her parents). Her boyfriend Adam has placed headphones around her and reveals he has not only her acceptance letter from Julliard but written a song for her. He also confesses that he will literally do anything to be with her all the time. There is some schmaltzy direction of fading to black, and fading to white, and the movie's over.
Yup. Over. People in the screening audience laughed! At least five people laughed in the audience because it was so abrupt after such a long buildup. The movie had one too many communal dinners and boyfriend's band scenes to justify the ending. So, she will be going to Julliard and will have the rocker boyfriend she wanted all along (just without her immediate family). I personally think the ending is so lazy & easy way out: I think it would have been a lot more interesting if she had been rejected by Julliard, or risen from the coma by the love of a friend.
There seemed to be no audience for this movie. The mature teen romance scenes and underage drinking make this a miss for pre-teens/early teens who need a parent to drive them...the over-the-top schmaltz make it unwatchable for anyone over 16. I'd pass, even if you are normally a fan of "weepies"...just put "Walk to Remember" in for a rewatch!