Darke Reviews | If I Stay (2014)

Everyone knows my general rules on comedies, but have you ever noticed I don’t do romances? Drama’s are rare? The real reason here for the romantic drama’s or general drama’s is while they may be well acted, well written, even well directed – they don’t interest me. They don’t trigger an emotional response to go see it. This isn’t a denigration of the movie or even the genre, but simply where my tastes tend to run. I need something that gets my pulse going or maybe makes me smile.

So why in all that I find holy did I see “If I Stay”?

Let me open with something personal – I should so not have seen this movie after the recent ending of a long term relationship. I should not have seen this after closing off so many bridges in my blood family life, or at least reminders of why they exist.

Why did I see it?

Let me get into the acting right away then. Chloë Grace Moretz. If you’ve talked to me in person you already know what I think of this young actress. If you have not, then let me explain to you that she is one of the best actresses of her age in Hollywood today. At 17 she already has 50 acting credits to her name. She really came onto the scene in 2010 with Kick-Ass as the infamous Hit Girl. Since then she has covered the gambit of role types from comedy, to action, to horror, to voice acting, to childrens movies. This is her turn in true Romance. Once again she impresses.

Moretz (as Mia) carries the movies on her shoulders like a pro. She is believable in her role and brings all the emotions she needs. She makes you laugh, she makes you smile, she makes you cry, and she makes your heart ache. She gets assistance from a list of actors most folks have never heard of. Jamie Blackley as her boyfriend Adam, Joshua Leonard as her father, Liana Liberato as her BFF Kim, and Mireille Enos (Gangster Squad and The KIlling) as her mother. Everyones turn against Moretz brings a complete performance.

This is the family many of us wish we had. This is the kind of romance and love that comes only a few times in a lifetime, if at all, and we want it. That makes the movie all the more painful as it unfolds. The tears don’t start much until act three. There are some before, but know that tears will come. Thats the sign of a good story.

Based on the book of the same title by Gayle Forman released in 2009, it was adapted for the screen by Shauna Cross. Cross was the writer of Whip It, also back in 2009. A critically praised by overlooked film with some strong women in Roller Derby. I am happy to see Cross return to the screen with this one. The story does a good job on its pacing, its emotions, and the vignettes of life as it plays out. Even Mia and Adam’s relationship, while still having the Hollywood touch, has a good pacing to it. It takes the time it needs. It feels natural, even as it blossoms it feels right. I remember what that was like and to me they nailed it.


If this is your genre – Romance/Drama’s – WATCH THIS.

Even through the tears it made me smile, it made me want. It made me miss the touch of another. It made me cry for the characters loss and the for Mia as it all plays out. If the movie can evoke such deep emotion as well as this one did – then it did its job.

I was never bored and the movie kept me hooked. This one is a good one folks.

Oh yeah – bring the tissues!