Suspending its young heroine between life and death for most of the story, shamelessly manipulative teen weepie If I Stay turns on all the taps, but improbable characters and trite dialogue mean that all but very lachrymose viewers will probably remain dry eyed.
Chloë Grace Moretz’s 17-year-old Mia is a mousy young cellist with cool rocker parents (Mireille Enos, Joshua Leonard) and, implausibly, an even cooler rocker boyfriend, Jamie Blackley’s dreamy Adam. Then comes a horrific car crash that puts her into a coma, but instead of being out of the picture she remains on the scene in an out-of-body state, wafting between hospital rooms as her loved ones keep teary vigil. Should she hang on to life or let go?
As Mia ponders this, a steady drip of flashbacks portrays the course of her relationship with Adam – with only her decision to try for a place at prestigious music school Juilliard putting strain on their blissful union. The blandness of this love story is the reason If I Stay fails to tug our heartstrings and explains why the usually impressive Moretz – so good in Kick-Ass and Let Me In – lacks her customary spark.
Certificate 12A. Runtime 107 mins. Director RJ Cutler.
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