Movie Mom

Movie Mom


If I Stay

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for thematic elements and some sexual material
Profanity:Some strong language
Nudity/Sex:Sexual references and non-explicit situation involving teens in a committed relationship
Alcohol/Drugs:Drinking, including teen drinking
Violence/Scariness:The film's themes include a tragic accident, characters injured and killed
Diversity Issues:None
Movie Release Date:August 22, 2014
Copyright 2014 Warner Brothers Studio

Copyright 2014 Warner Brothers Studio

Hamlet asked it best. “To be, or not to be: That is the question.” We struggle through, worrying about whether someone likes us or whether we will be accepted at the school of our choice. Those seem like serious problems. And then something really huge shows us how small those problems are, and forces us to confront the only question that matters: will we continue to “suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune” or will we obliterate ourselves, and everything we can perceive?

That is the question faced by a young cellist named Mia (Chloë Grace Moretz, in one of her first roles as a normal girl).  She has a wonderful family, loving, supportive, understanding and remarkably hip and gorgeous parents (Mireille Enos as Kat and Joshua Leonard as Denny) and a not-too-pesky kid brother named Teddy (Jakob Davies).  She has the kind of kindred spirit best friend who is always vitally interested in every detail and always on her side (“Trust’s” terrific Liana Liberato). And they are a part of a warm, loving community in Portland, Oregon that seems like an endless pot luck dinner party, seamlessly blending from one time and place to another, always filled with laughter and music.

And there is Adam (Jamie Blackley).  He is the perfect combination of untamed/angsty and utterly devoted swain. He is supposedly a punk musician, though his performances are disconcertingly pop-ish with even a bit of emo. And he says swoon-worthy things like, “You can’t hide in that rehearsal room forever. It’s too late. I see you.” Mia feels like an outsider as a classical cellist in a family of rock musicians. And, of course, she attends high school with teenagers who have no interest in orchestral music. “Right on, I love classic rock,” one of them responds when Mia tries to explain the kind of music she plays.

Adam watches Mia rehearse and instantly sees that in the most important way she is just like him. She is someone who is not just moved by music, but saved by it. She says, “I loved the order, the structure, that feeling in my chest. Like my heart is beating with the cello.” The “whole messy live for the moment punk rocker thing” does not feel right to her.

Soon Adam and Mia are a couple. But then his group becomes successful and he starts to tour. And she may have a chance to go to Juilliard, on the other side of the country.

And then there is the accident. Mia’s family takes advantage of a snow day to go off on an excursion together, but a car slips on the ice and there is a very bad crash.  The entire story is told as Mia’s spirit, alone in the limbo between life and death, able to see and hear everyone around her but not able to be seen or heard, is remembering her life, beginning to understand what has happened, and recognizing that it is up to her to decide whether to re-enter her body and fight to stay alive.

Gayle Forman’s book is thoughtfully adapted by Shauna Cross (“Whip It”), who has a good sense of the inner lives of teenage girls. While Adam and Mia have their struggles, they are thankfully a step above the typical teenage drama (on and off-screen), and almost always respectfully handled and based in character and context and not the usual sitcom-ish miscommunication.  Moritz takes on a tough challenge in playing a character who has to express so much anxiety with so little interaction with other actors, except in flashbacks.  She does well, as does director R.J. Cutler in keeping an internal story visually engaging.  If it doesn’t have the emotional impact of recent YA weepies like “The Spectacular Now” and “The Fault in Our Stars,” it is a touching story about an appealing young couple.

Parents should know that this film has literal life-and-death situations, with a serious accident, and characters injured and killed. It also includes strong language, teen drinking, and non-explicit sexual references and situations.

Family discussion: How did their families influence the different ways Adam and Mia saw their options? Why did Mia’s grandfather tell her she could go? What would you decide and why?

If you like this, try: “The Spectacular Now,” “Save the Last Dance,” and “Bandslam” as well as the book by Gayle Forman and its sequel, told from Adam’s perspective, Where She Went



Previous Posts

Birdman (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)
Filmed as though it was almost entirely one long, stunning, audacious, breathless and breathtaking shot, "Birdman" (subtitled "The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance") explodes with ideas and visions, adopting the language of dreams to explore and upend the very idea of storytelling. Michael Keaton p

posted 5:59:46pm Oct. 23, 2014 | read full post »

John Wick
This is a movie directed by two stunt men, which means it is pretty much a first-person shooter video game projected onto a movie screen. But that also means that it is directed by people wh

posted 5:44:02pm Oct. 23, 2014 | read full post »

23 Blast
23 Blast is the name of a football play, and "23 Blast" is based on the real story of Travis Freeman, a high school football star who lost his sight, but, with the help of a courageous coach and committed teammates, was able to keep playing. The real hero of the movie is the coach, played by "Ava

posted 3:57:18pm Oct. 23, 2014 | read full post »

Trailer: Little Hope Was Arson, Story of Church Burnings
[iframe width="560" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/EYk-EU9Ydyw?rel=0" frameborder="0"] Available in select theaters and nationwide VOD beginning Nov 21! For more info, please visit: http://littlehopewasarson.com. January 2010: In the buckle of the Bible Belt, 10 churches burn to

posted 1:00:10pm Oct. 23, 2014 | read full post »

Trailer: The Avengers: Age of Ultron
[iframe src="http://www.movieweb.com/v/VI0Fjch2c6ld24/embed_video" width="400" height="225" frameborder="0"] I'm very excited about the next Avengers movie, coming out next spring, and it's a great trailer with the bleak images, random ballerinas, and creepy re-do of the classic song from "Pinocc

posted 8:38:38am Oct. 23, 2014 | read full post »




Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.