“If I Stay” offers little originality in romantic film

Keely Jenkins

“If I Stay,” released on Aug 24,  follows the all too familiar plot of the popular guy falling for the shy, quirky protagonist with the outgoing best friend.

IN THE ADAPTATION of Gayle Forman’s 2009 novel “If I Stay,” Mia Hall (played by Chloë Grace-Moretz) chooses between love for her boyfriend Adam Wilde (played by Jamie Blackley) and being with her family.
IN THE ADAPTATION of Gayle Forman’s 2009 novel “If I Stay,” Mia Hall (played by Chloë Grace-Moretz) chooses between love for her boyfriend Adam Wilde (played by Jamie Blackley) and being with her family.

Although the movie has an captivating storyline, the rather unlikeable boyfriend of the protagonist degrades the film as he comes across as rude and impatient. The film itself becomes better towards the end, when it moves away from the love story and swivels the focus on the trauma facing Mia, the main character.

Starring Chloë Grace-Moretz as Mia, the devoted cello player, and Jamie Blackery as Adam, a cool rocker guy, the movie’s love story is revealed through flashbacks that begin after Mia suffers a car accident that kills her parents. Trapped in a coma, Mia has an out-of-body experience where she watches all of her loved ones visit her and has to make a choice of life or death.

The flashbacks reveal Mia’s close-knit family, which consists of a rocker-turned-teacher father, played by Joshua Leonard, a laid back mother, played by Mireille Enos, and a younger brother, played by Jakob Davies.

Throughout the movie, we learn of Mia’s struggles to fit in with her family, which is soon overshadowed by her choice of going to Juilliard in New York or attending a local college to stay with Adam.

Mia’s and Adam’s “love” is what makes the movie cliche. Adam is the popular older guy who loves to play rock music, and, with Mia already feeling like an outcast in her own rocker family, their compatibility doesn’t make sense. The story also fits the stereotypical plot of the classic cool guy liking the quiet girl with the best friend who pushes her to leave her shell – a movie that every teenage girl has seen one too many times.

Based on a book by Gayle Forman, “If I Stay” has few deviations from the original storyline. The book features more complex characters and is absent of the many scenes where Mia is running through the hospital yelling or searching for something. The main themes of first love and the importance of family are also present.

The movie, while neither new nor exciting, is not altogether awful. Although the two protagonists were underdeveloped and sometimes downright unlikable, the rest of the characters kept the show going by providing heart-wrenching confessions to Mia and by telling her to suck it up when confused about her future during the story’s flashbacks. Although you won’t fall in love with the couple, Mia’s family is lovable and the movie is worth seeing if you are in the mood for the cliche romantic genre.