#IfIStay, English Hollywood Film movie review, #JohnsonThomas Rating: * *

#IfIStay, English Hollywood Film movie review, #JohnsonThomas Rating: *  *


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#IfIStay(English)Rating: * * About a comatose teen who has an out-of-body experience, this #RJCutler directed adaptation(#GayleForman’s book) is rather maudlin and awkward-though it does have strongly understated moments of high drama with potential to ply on the tears. #WarnerBros #LianaLiberato #JamieBlackley #AliyahO'Brien 

English Film Review
Johnson Thomas

Tear jerking saga of paranormal dimensions

Film: If I Stay    
Director: R.J. Cutler
Rating: *  *

Running Time: 106 min.

Synopsis:Chloe Moretz stars as comatose teen who has an out-of-body experience following a car accident that kills her entire family in this MGM/Summit Entertainment co-production directed by R.J. Cutler, and adapted from the book by Gayle Forman
Young Adult novels seem to have become the new fad in Hollywood what with the movie adaptations doing brisk business at the Box Office. ‘The Hunger games,’ ‘The fault with our Stars’ and now ‘If I stay’ young adult stories in movies are getting the audience into the theatres and that probably explains why this successful YA novel was transformed for the cinemas.
 At 17, Chloë Grace Moretz has cemented her place in the Hollywood firmament with such diverse turns as in the “Kick-Ass” movies to “Let Me In,” and even last year’s  “Carrie” remake. “If I Stay,”  about a teenage girl trapped in an ethereal realm who must choose between life and death, allows her to further her performance experience to another dimension. That of the ethereal and paranormal. It’s of course a mushy story and though the director restricts the melodrama to a bare minimum, there’s no way you are going to remain unaffected. 
Moretz’s has strong screen presence and her grounded performance allows for greater believability than the character she plays deserved. She shares an easy chemistry(in flashbacks) with co-star Jamie Blackley who plays her boyfriend. It’s a popular story but in the film there are rather maudlin and painfully awkward moments that are hard to overcome.

Granted, a lot of this stuff works better on the page.  Gayle Forman’s best-selling novel gets a cinematic treatment from director R.J. Cutler and screenwriter Shauna Cross who stay true to it’s book form. The back-and-forth structure, and the few embellishments do make for improved viewing pleasure.  Cutler who is making his narrative feature debut(hitherto known for his documentaries eg. “The September Issue” about Vogue magazine editor Anna Wintour) manages to set up a brisk pace for what transpires on screen. The melodrama is minimal but the story itself is such a emotion wringer that tears fall freely.
Despite that, Cutler manages to create some moments of powerful understatement.
“If I Stay” begins in happier times. Mia, a cello prodigy with dreams of attending Juilliard, is enjoying a snowy morning with her mother and father (Mireille Enos and Joshua Leonard), former rock ‘n’ rollers and her younger brother, Teddy (Jakob Davies). Mia  feels like an outcast because her tastes and ambitions are different from that of her family. She has a quiet demeanor and a passionate love for classical music. On their way to visit longtime friends, the family’s car slams into an out-of-control vehicle on an icy Portland road.
From thereon the film takes on a new dimension. That of the paranormal where Mia, battling between life and death , has n out of body experience in which she retreads through her young life and love, trying to come to terms with the decisions she has to make. Heart-rending it is. And obvious too. There are of course some touching moments but the overall experience is just a little too weird to be all encompassing!




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