"If I Stay" Touching, but Confusing

Updated 9 weeks ago by Tony Rutherford , HNN Entertainment Editor
"If I Stay" Touching, but Confusing
(c) Warner Bros/MGM

Feel the music. Break a heart. Fight for your life.

A lovely young adult "chic" flick, "If I Stay" somberly details Mia's (Chloë Grace Moretz) life or death decision. Caught in a snowy automobile accident Moretz passionately embraces three roles --- a comatose teen, a racing through the hospital halls almost angel, and a talented musician recalling the mostly happy times of her short life, which are difficult to match with the tragic circumstances.

Opting for the simultaneous three-way perspective, the film cannot elicit the supernatural shivers of a teen "Ghost" or an inspirational intensity of her  between two worlds choice. That's not a fatal impairment , rather one that often depletes empathy yet strongly celebrates the love and talent of the young woman for her family, friends, and Adam (Jamie Blackley) who's the focus of her earthly talent versus true young love dilemma.

Telling her life story in flashback makes for some awkward jolts, in fact, unless you have your eyes firmly focused you could miss a brisk, subtle flash of her ultimate decision.

Moretz mostly handles well the challenging ethereal hospital hallways well rotating from 'can't see her' poker faced,  non interactive observer emotions and a few desperately devoted to Adam moments. What's difficult for her are capturing the spirit of a woman fighting to live (or deciding to pass to the heavens) . Fortunately, her wardrobe (and occasional diffused lighting on some close ups) delineate her temporarily stranded status.

Imperfect, yes. You could make a determination that Mia and Adam's romance on its own demonstrates sensitivity, courage and sacrifice often overlooked in down to earth real life drama. Similarly, I score many of the scenes surrounded by tragedy emotionally floundering   than poignant.

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