“If I Stay” leaves audiences satisfied

If I Stay leaves audiences satisfied

Adeline Davis, Student Connection Editor

The ever-changing, crazy prospect of life is a theme which drives the plotline of R.J Cutler’s film If I Stay, based on bestselling 2009 novel by Gayle Forman. An ordinary snow day turns into a life changing catastrophe when a car crash puts 17 year old Mia Hall into a coma. When Mia awakens, she finds herself in an out of body experience, in between life and death. The choice to stay or go resides in her, leaving her only a day to decide her ultimate fate.
In her prior life, Mia’s incredible gift for the cello wins her both an audition to Julliard and an adoringly perfect boyfriend Adam. The film stitches together these fragments from her life beautifully, allowing you to fall in love with her past. The chemistry between Mia (Chloe Grace Montez) and Adam (Jamie Blackley) helps even out the tragedy of Mia’s reality, giving a realistic portrayal of young love’s vulnerability and sacrifice.
Most of Mia’s flashbacks provide for much needed characterization. Chloe Grace Montez provides an impeccable performance of an introverted teenager desperately trying to find herself. Mia’s parents, played by Mireille Enos and Joshua Leonard, give equally strong performances, doing the roles of lovingly quirky parents’ justice.
This being said, the film’s extensive use of flashbacks overshadows the seriousness of Mia’s critical condition until the end of the movie. You become so enthralled in Mia’s past that you almost forget she and her family members are hooked up to ventilators in the ICU. This makes it even more depressing when the film situates you back into Mia’s ICU reality. You end up rooting for her and her family to pull through, but as the flashbacks continue, the film begins to feel slow as you wait for Mia to make her decision.
The film also made the unfortunate decision of adding corny music to every hospital sequence, giving the scenes a weirdly light vibe. This being said, the cello music added throughout the film melted beautifully with the scenes, automatically linking you to Mia’s character. Without a doubt you will leave the theater with bleary eyes and a burning desire to get the movie soundtrack, as long as the cheesy hospital music is not included.