Saturday, August 23, 2014

Audiences who like sappy dialogue, music, and estrogen will enjoy chick flick "If I Stay"

Movie Title:   If I Stay
PG-13, 1 hour 46 minutes

Grade:  B-

In a Nutshell:  Standard chick-flick material: too cool guy falls head-over-heels in love with a shy, misunderstood girl and says all the right romantic things, risking everything for her.  If you’re into sappy dialogue, music, and estrogen, you’ll probably enjoy this predictable teen-angst love story, based on Gayle Forman’s 2009 novel If I Stay  

Uplifting theme: 
  • Teddy, Mia’s dad, teaches her “Sometimes you make choices in life and sometimes the choices make you.” 
  • The movie poster condenses the theme: “Live for Love.”
  • Another lesson Mia learns is from her mom who said “Life’s a big, fat, stinking mess, but that’s the beauty of it too.”
  • Music is a powerful theme in the film, which is that music is powerful.

Things I liked:
  • Chloe Grace Moretz is absolutely wonderful.  She was such a lovely, talented little girl in earlier movies and is getting even more so as she matures.  Her fingering on the cello looks very real, but she doesn’t play in real life.  She tried to learn for seven months, but finally gave it up.  A body double is used to play the instrument, while her head is cut into the frame later. I want her hair.
  • When the movie ended abruptly, the lady sitting behind me in the theater exclaimed “Wow!”
  • Mireille Enos, who plays Mia’s mother Kat, looked familiar to me, but it wasn’t until 30 minutes into the movie when I finally remembered where I had seen her before…she was Brad Pitt’s wife in the movie World War Z.  You can read my movie review of that fun action flick here.
  • I loved hearing beautiful cello music.  My youngest son played the cello for 3 years in middle school, but recently announced that he is not going to continue when he starts high school this year.  Anyone want to buy a cello?  (sniff)
  • The director, R.J. Cutler, uses mist and light to represent the ethereal world after this life.  There is no religious slant, other than the idea that there is another place to go after this world.
Things I didn’t like:
  • Adam (Jamie Blackley) is a rising rocker who writes songs and plays in a band.  One of his “genius” songs includes the ridiculously lame lyrics “I want what you have, now give it to me.”  In real life, Jamie has played the guitar since he was 12 years old.  You’ll see him again next year in a new Woody Allen movie.
  • The hospital security literally drags Adam out of Chloe’s room.  Do you really think hospital staff would be that mean and physical with someone visiting their dying loved one?  Have you ever experienced that?  I’d love to hear from you in the comment box below!
  • The camera puts Chloe Grace Moretz in soft-focus a LOT.  It would make more sense if that technique were only used AFTER the car accident.
Funny lines:
  • “Your closet’s terrifying”  - Mia, talking about her mom’s clothes
  • “Honey, guilt and bribery are the glue that has held parents and teenagers together for generations.  Don’t fight the tradition.”  - Teddy/Dad
  • “Your parents seem pretty cool.”  - Adam
“So they tell me.”   - Mia

  • “She shouldn’t be scared to hang out with those guys…they’re us.”  - Kat/Mom
  • “School’s out forever!”  - Denny
“Did you really quote Alice Cooper?”  Have I not taught you anything?”  - Teddy/Dad
  • “There are 2 kinds of people in this world: those who like coffee and those who like frufru drinks with ridiculous names.”  - Kim (Liana Liberato)
  • “If you ever turn into one of THOSE girls, I’m gonna shoot you.”  - Kim
“If I turn into one of THOSE girls, I’m gonna give you the gun.”  - Mia 

Did you notice?
  • The creepy doll head decorations on the front porch of Mia’s house.
  • Mia has an old record player in her room.  Her rocker parents have a huge bookshelf of old vinyls in their family room.
  • Mia’s artsy/fartsy house has Christmas lights on it year round.
Inspiring lines:
  • “Sacrifice – that’s what we do for the people we love.”  - Gramps  (Stacy Keach)
  • “As they say, life is what happens when you’re busy making plans.”  - Mia
  • “The audition was two months ago, but I can still feel it in my fingers.” – Mia
Romantic lines: 
  • “You can’t hide in that rehearsal room forever.  It’s too late.  I see you.”  - Adam
  • (too many to list)

Tips for parents:  Lots and lots of kissing…duh….chick flick.  There is also pre-marital sex, although you don’t see it, just some lead-in and cuddling in bed.  If your tween daughter loves this movie, she’ll be happy to learn that they are already talking about plans to film the sequel to the first book “Where She Went.”

        The first book:

If you like this movie, you’ll definitely enjoy “The Fault In Our Stars.”
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