Thursday, March 26, 2015

If I Stay

Movie adaptations of well-known books are always hard to get by without enormous criticism. The movie, If I Stay, based on a novel by Gayle Forman, seemed to ever-so-slightly slip under that radar. The story is about a nerdy, cello-playing senior in high school who's in a coma induced by a car crash, but can see everything that's happening around her. She finds out helplessly that the rest of her family had died in the crash, and that she might not be long for this world either. However, though she doesn't really realize it until the end of the movie, she has the choice whether she stays or goes. Chloe Grace Moretz plays the main character, Mia and does a pretty phenomenal job at it. She is very believably passionate about all the things this movie stands for. This movie is a battle between family drama and a teen romance, and I feel like it depends on the person watching it, what they get out of it, And, that's why it's so great.
To a lot of people, the story focuses on an epic teen romance which is ultimately the reason why Mia stays. Since the tale is a series of flashbacks, many of them including Mia's high school romance with Adam, portrayed by Jamie Blackley, I understand everyone interpreting it that way. Their romance shows many ups and downs and shows real problems, like separation after high school and how following your dreams is more important than following a boyfriend or a girlfriend. They fight, they break up, he leaves, only to return to find her in a coma. He's the final person to talk to her while she's in the coma, which definitely makes it feel like that is the selling point of the story. It's kind of frustrating to me that people see it this way, but there's not much you can do. I'm also not sure I think the phrase "live for love" is the best way to advertise this movie. 
I mean, yes, definitely live for love, it's a good thing to live for. But, I don't think that the majority of people factor in that there's more than just romantic love to live for. And, this movie portrayed much of the other types of love too. There was family love, which was shown in her reactions to what happened to her family, but was also shown with her parents'
friends and her grandparents. Her grandfather held her hand and told her she could let go, if she was so inclined.  There was friendly love, her best friend came in and told her how no matter what happened, she'd remember her fondly. I don't doubt for a second that these things impacted her final decision to stay. Knowing that there were still people around who wanted her to stay was very important. And, 
finally, she lived for her dream. Adam had brought her the letter, her acceptance to Julliard. She was a classic cellist and she had auditioned long before the crash. It was exactly everything she ever wanted and hoped for. So, yeah, she lived for love because sometimes the best choice isn't the easiest. She will have to live without her parents and little brother, but she will always have something or someone to live for. I think that this is the overall message that the book and movie aims for.
I'd recommend reading any book by Gayle Forman, by the way, she's phenomenal.

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