100 Movie Days: Day 18 - If I Stay (2014)
I've been following the career of young Chloe Moretz since she was the smart mouthed younger sister of Joseph Gordon-Levitt in 500 Days of Summer. She has had to grow up in the business and has grown towards some more serious leading roles. Since her great roles in Kick-Ass and Hugo she has taken the lead in the.....watchable Carrie and now If I Stay, an adaptation of the novel of the same name.
I'm a bit tired of writing repetitive summaries so just watch the trailer if you haven't seen it yet. Basically, it is the story of nice girl falls for "bad boy" rocker and general teen angst ensues. However, that weak initial premise is bolstered by a much broader backdrop of family and being with the ones you love.
It's true that this is very much geared towards to the young adult, teen audience but it features strong content about the importance of family and loved ones and that is a great theme for everyone. The film hops back and forth in time with a lot of flashbacks but they happen at the perfect frequency to keep things interesting to prevent a lot of potential lulls. This is important with serious content because it can often lead to drowsiness. I also enjoyed that they didn't have the cheesy walk-through-people ghost effect. While she was having an out of body experience she was bound by regular physics and had to swoop into open doors or press up against windows. It shows that she isn't a ghost. Not yet anyway.
Moretz had a solid performance, not my favourite but still better than most. She captured enough teen awkwardness to be believable but not so much for it to be uncomfortable to watch. She does well opposite Jaime Blackley who portrays the not-so-bad boy Adam. I enjoyed the pair and whether it was intentional there was a wee bit of tension in the chemistry as might happen in real life. My favourite characters were Kat (Mireille Enos) and Denny (Joshua Leonard), Mia's parents. They are the quirky, weird rocker parents that soundly broke the idea of the straight and narrow prototypical "good parents". They provided a fun and happy environment and sacrificed for their children. If I grow up to be parents like them, I will have lived a fulfilling life.
According to my expert source, it follows the novel quite faithfully with certain things in different orders. I'm glad that a few of these adaptations from page to screen can do it right.
This is a pretty heavy movie but not enough to make me cry which, if you know me, isn't that hard to do. It was a good movie with great themes but I won't be rushing to revisit it any time soon.