If I Stay, review

If I Stay was 2014’s big (ish) teen romance. Starring Chloe Grace Moretz, in a role that is relatively tame compared to her usual character choices, R. J. Cutler’s film took Gayle Forman’s popular novel and adapted it for the mass market. A commercial hit, but somewhat of a critical flop, Cutler’s film is an intimate portrait of adolescent love. It’s wet and soppy. It’s a little unbelievable – but that’s down to the source material – but, if you’re a fan of similar fare such as The Notebook and The Lucky One (or anything Nicholas Sparks related, i. e. full of tragedy), this is for you.

The premise is an original one, taken from Forman’s novel, which is said to be written in a lyrical prose. Music is a main theme, pairing classical and indie to great effect. Moretz portrays Mia, a talented cellist. Jamie Blackley (in a breakout role) is Adam, love-interest and frontman for rising rock band Williamette Stone. These two characters are pretty much the sole focus of the film, which is interesting, yet problematic. If I Stay follows Mia as she experiences an out of body experience following a fatal car crash with her family. This alone is an unfathomable loss, but the main sense of grief is centered on her on-again off-again relationship with Adam. Fourteen year olds will love watching this romance play out – older audiences will question the relevance this holds following Mia‘s family tragedy.While viewing, this doesn’t really register, upon refl

moretz and blackley in if i stay

moretz and blackley in if i stay

ection the issues of the narrative come to the surface and cloud the overall effectiveness of the film.

Its not all bad, though. Blackley is electric in his first position as leading man. Sexy, confident and broody, he channels an indie energy that is often seen in male characters within Brit cinema – it’s nice to say goodbye to an all-American hero for once. The chemistry between the pair never reaches the depths of McAdams and Gosling, or DiCaprio and Danes, but Moretz and Blackley play their respective roles dutifully and together create a romance worth rooting for. Mireille Enos supports as Kat and stands out as a captivating talent in the little screen time she has – watch out for future performances from this kooky young actress.

While the script and run-time lets Cutler’s picture down, the cinematography and soundtrack make up for it. Juxtaposing rock legends with classical names, Heitor Pereira has chosen a carefully selected score which music fanatics will certainly appreciate. The musical component plays a strong part, and watching the story of both leads play out in respect to this is one of the most captivating elements. A backyard party which sees the cello meet the acoustic guitar lends to a stand-out scene, as messages of family ties and young love radiates from the screen.

Generally, If I Stay is an enjoyable, yet intense, watch that will serve as a guilty pleasure for many. The whole idea of wanting to live on because of true love is fairy-tale esque, and does hold a sense of beauty, but this alone gets tangled up amongst different strands of loss. Having said that, there’s a mass audience for this kind of genre, and those that seek it out for this reason, will treasure Cutler’s adaptation.

the week’s new releases

This is a new weekly concept I’m trying out – stalking the internet for anything film related that you guys, my awesome readers, might be interested in. Lets give it a go, shall we?

Trailers: This week we’ve had an array of new trailers (mainly of films that attract a large female audience) to set our eyes on – from Kenneth Branagh’s attempt at a live-action Cinderella and the sequel to the 2012 success, Pitch Perfect 2. The latter’s online reaction has been positive, with most excited at a return from Ana Kendrick,Rebel Wilson and the rest of their singing cohorts. If you were a fan of the first (or kinda’ liked it, but weren’t entirely sure on why everyone found it so bloody funny) then the sequel looks to step things up a notch, with more jokes and more crude behavior (don’t pretend you don’t love it). Cinderella, a production from seasoned director Branagh, who has previously tried his hand at Shakespeare (which is not really that far removed from this) and everyone’s favourite monster Frankenstein, is a pretty self-explanatory picture; prepare for love and heartache. Again, initial reaction has been great, and with Helena Bonham Carter starring as the Fairy Godmother and Cate Blanchett as Lady Tremaine (the wicked stepmother), this isn’t going to be some low-grade adaptation. However, having said that, this type of film tends to only draw in a niche audience (those Disney lovers of course), but I’m holding out hopes this will be one for the masses. (Quick note: during the trailer I was all like ‘how cheesy is this’, then up pops Richard Madden, aka Jon Fricken’ Snow and the game has just changed). Lily James is starring as the protagonist of the title, and having made waves already in the Brit film industry (with productions such as Fast Girls and Broken) this is her biggest role yet. And there’s no pressure on playing the most-famous Disney character of all time, is there? Looking at the trailer though, and James’ wrap sheet so far, it looks like this is a rising star moment. Both films will be released in 2015 (May and March respectively).

DVD releases: Releases this week include the tear-jerking romantic drama If I Stay, starring the star of the moment Chloe Grace Moretz as Mia, a teenager in a fatal car crash. The film is an adaptation from Gayle Forman’s weepy novel of the same name, and while critics came at it from an angle of attack (what meanies), box-office wise the film was a hit. If you’re going to give this a go, get your tissues at the ready. Frank Miller’s Sin City: A Dame to Kill For was released earlier in the week, and featuring a return from Mickey Rourke, Jessica Alba and Rosario Dawson (plus a host of new characters and great actors, my personal favourite being Powers Booth) this is going to have to be on your top list of ones to buy. Following the five act formula set out in the first, expect A Dame to Kill For to be an entertaining follow-up to the first, rather than an art inspiration of cult success.

Other news: In other news, Moretz has apparently been signed up for the third (and let it be final) X-Men: Apocalypse as a young Jean Grey. And there are whispers of Rosamund Pike (now a house-hold name after her turn in Gone Girl) having joined The Mountain Between us (a project still in pre-production, based on a young couple and their survival after a plane crash), with everyone’s favourite biker Charlie Hunnam (thank you for saying no to Fifty Shades). The film will be directed by Hany Abu-Assad with the release date TBD.

You can watch the trailers for all of the new releases here:

– Cinderella: https: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=McQ_cCBaiac

Pitch Perfect 2: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eQ9BJ8-Y0y8

– If I Stay: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wH6PNeTy6Nc

Sin City: A Dame to Kill For: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6iFdPcx0W2w

Let me know what films have got you excited by dropping a comment in the box below!