**This post contains spoilers**
If I Stay not only gave my screenwriting career hope, but also my dad’s–the king of one liners. Other than last night in the theater, I cannot remember the last time I physically cringed during a movie. What was supposed to be a sentimental movie with a powerful take away was instead a full-scale production mistake due almost entirely to the lowest of low qualities of its script. Yes, I live in Oregon and have obvious criticisms of any portrayal of Portland, but this one was painfully satirical.
The plot goes as follows, main character Chloë Grace Moretz or Mia is growing up as the daughter of a super-cool rocker dad and a washed-out hippy mom. The couple is young, fun and cool. Mia is left as the “outsider” due to her love for the cello. Throughout the movie, it is made repeatedly known that she’s very out of place in her family (that loves music) because she so awfully decided to play the century-old and very beloved instrument that is the cello.
The list of oh-so-terrible occurrences goes on as Mia’s love for cello brings her: a hot rocker boyfriend, admittance to Juliard and pitifully, self-fulfillment. Despite her rocker boyfriend, drugs and alcohol make her nervous so she steers clear, books are way more cool than parties, so she also keeps her mind on those things and her parents never have to worry about anything she does because she is the spitting image of the child that anyone could hope for. This I’m sure was the selling point for a parent who had just spent $25 to sit with their child through an hour and a half of yet another one of Hollywood’s overly-marketed low-quality productions.
I want to say it’s about half-way or bluntly too late in the movie that the climax/ rising-action (still unclear to what the director was thinking) of her family dying from a car accident happens. Yes, that’s the plot of this movie. Not her cello playing, not her fiery adolescent romance, but halfway through a crash that turns her into a ghost? Twist number 16, also a personal favorite, is the ending where Mia has heard that all her family is dead but decides to wake up because her high school boyfriend loves her.
The editing is bad, the filming makes it look fake and the digitization of Mia atop the arms of a talented and actually worthy artist made me cringe. The worst part about it all was that the story and idea behind it is powerful and could be filled with motivation for numerous people going through anything difficult in their life, and it hurts me to see such a real and powerful message so much falsified and made into something that even in the worst of times, may not be reachable.
Case in point, don’t see this move. Already been talked into it? No problem. I suggest to do something else beforehand so that it feels more natural to laugh at the poorly timed jokes, lack of plot-line and unnecessary explanations of Juliard–you know, that esoteric school that no one has ever heard of.