By Jordan Katz and Mikayla Prettyman
If I Stay is a 2014 film from director R.J. Cutler and stars Chloe Grace Moretz as Mia Hall and Jamie Blackley is Mia’s boyfriend, Adam. While the film is perfect for Valentine’s Day for the romance between Mia and Adam, it does a great job at tugging on the heart strings and is a great film for any occasion.
The movie’s plot is set into motion when Mia, her father Denny, mother Kat and younger brother Teddy are on the road on a snowy day. Their car gets into a terrible collision and everyone in the car goes to the hospital with serious and life threatening injuries. Mia is knocked into a coma, but is able to see everything that’s happening around her by having an out-of-body experience. She can see everyone and everything that is happening, but no one can see, feel or hear her. It’s devastating to see her trying to talk Adam or her grandparents in hospital, knowing that they can’t hear her.
The movie does a great job of weaving the story between the present and giving flashbacks to develop the background story of Mia and Adam. The film maintained a good balance of scenes where Mia is in hospital with scenes from the past where everyone in her family is fully fit and happy.
In the flashbacks, Mia’s life is dominated by music and it plays a major part in her life as well as the characters around her. Mia herself is a highly accomplished cellist. Her father was in a punk rock band called The Nasty Bruises and her mother was a former punk rocker chick. Her boyfriend is in his own band, Willamette Stone.
Mia’s ambition with the cello and Adam’s ambition with his own band is a point of conflict for the couple. When Mia sets up an audition with the prestigious Juilliard School, Adam becomes upset he wasn’t told in advance about it. He is also worried about Mia going to a school across the country: they live in Portland, Juilliard is in New York.
The conflict of choosing between your significant other and the school of your dreams is a conflict that many high school students have had to consider and the movie excellently illustrates how tough of a choice it is for people in that position. You find yourself wishing that Mia could somehow have both but know it’s basically impossible.
Back to the present in the hospital, Mia sees her parents and her little brother die. The death of young Teddy is the most heart wrenching moment of the movie. The line “He will never graduate from T-ball to baseball. And never learn to drive. Never kiss a girl.” is going to hit any viewer of this movie very hard.
A good movie turns into a great one with the emotional ending it has. It’s tough to describe how it ends without spoiling it, so best thing to do is just watch it. You’ll be sure to enjoy it on Valentine’s Day, or any other day of the year.