R.J. Cutler’s most recent film, If I stay, based off the novel of the same name by Shauna Cross, fell short of being the romantic drama of the year it was intended to be. The story focuses on the “life or death” choice a young girl, Mia Hall, played by Chloe Grace Mortez. After Mia has an out of body experience following a car accident, she has to decide to either pass on with her family or stay on earth for love and to pursue her passions.
While the story and plot appeal to the romantic senses, the film itself was not as touching as the trailer may have made it seem. The film is being closely compared to Josh Boone’s, The Fault in Our Stars, as they both focus on the heart-wrenching, dramatic lives of two star-crossed lovers as they are coming of age. Both films are intended for the same audience, from teen to young adults, but are more manipulative than they are moving. The plot is structured to be a tear-jerker, which it is, but lacks any sort of original, creative qualities that fall outside the typical romantic drama genre of film. Perhaps this has to do with the fact that the director is better known for documentaries than for fictional films.
Chloe Grace Mortez is being praised for her acting efforts in the film as being believable in her role, but the way the plot is built to purposely trigger a tear-felt reaction takes away from the story and Mortez’ honesty in the film.
The love story which takes place between Mia and her romantic interest Adam, played by Jamie Blackley, is too typical to take seriously. Mia is a responsible and accomplished young woman who has her heart set on Julliard as a cellist. She is opposite to her love interest Adam who is a misfit teen rocker in a band.
The dynamic between them might pull at the heart strings, but it is less than believable and far too conventional. While the film is nothing outside anything that’s already been accomplished in the romantic drama genre, if its goal was to make money off of people who will put themselves through almost two hours of torture and devastating moments for our main character, then it accomplished what it needed to. Overall, I would say if you’re in need of a good cry one night, then this is definitely a film to watch, but if you’re looking for something that is going to be theatrically stimulating then don’t waste your money on a ticket to see this film in the cinema. Afterall, it’ll be on Netflix’s new releases in no time.