Wednesday, September 3, 2014

If I Stay Review

Earlier this year this was a run of Christian movies that were released. In front of almost all of them was the trailer for If I Stay. Having known absolutely nothing about the movie, and not even knowing it was a book, it almost looked like another Christian movie to me. Because, you know, it was about life and death. A girl got in a car crash and had an out of body experience where it she had to decide if she was going to stay or move on. Given that it was advertised in front of Christian movies, this seemed like a legit assumption. Nope. Shortly after seeing the trailer for the first time, I actually learned that it was just another teen romance movie. Dang. But hey, I've enjoyed romance dramas before. Just look at my reviews for The Fault in Our Stars and What If as recent examples. I went in to the movie with some hope of enjoyment based on the fact that it still had the life and death themes. But holy cow! Little did I know I was walking into a prison. I forced myself to watch the whole movie and it was a difficult experience. I was so relieved when the credits finally rolled because it meant I could finally escape. So yes, unless you are a teenage girl, I would stay far away from this movie.

While the movie heavily advertises the fact that this is a movie about a girl who gets in a car crash that kills the rest of her family, leaving her to decide if she should stay or go, that's really not what this movie is about. This is a full-fledged romance movie. Sure, you have scattered moments throughout the movie where it takes place in the hospital, but most of the movie is told in flashbacks. And yes, you guessed it, those flashbacks tell the story of this girl who is obsessed with the cello her life and meets this guy in high school who is obsessed with his newly found fame as a rock star. And we get this incredibly detailed story about how they met, how they started dating, how they fall in love, how things get complicated when he's always gone performing and she's contemplating college in New York, and so on and so forth. And I didn't care one bit about any of it. I just wanted the movie to stay in the present at the hospital. But it didn't. The flashback story just kept going and going and going and going and going and going. It didn't stop. I was almost crying. Not because it was sad and emotional, but because it was so boring and I felt trapped. I wanted out!! So why didn't I just leave? I was tempted. But no, I don't leave movies. Especially not if I'm planning on writing a review about it. I can't write a review of a movie that I only partially saw. That's dumb. So I stayed. And I suffered. And I did that for my readers so that you don't have to go through the same experience. Or if you decide to, I can at least tell you that I told you so when you end up hating the movie, too.

The one hope I had throughout the movie was that when it did focus on the hospital scenes that it would actually be interesting. The good thing is that it was at least watchable when it focused on that. At first. But it quickly got rather confusing and thus pretty lame as well. Maybe it's just me, but I would think that if you had an out of body experience, you wouldn't be confined to the laws of physics. And I don't know if she actually was, but it seemed like it. She had to hurry to jump on the ambulance in the first place. She never opened doors or moved the curtains. If she wanted to get into a room, she had to wait for someone to open the door so she could sneak in. It was weird. Usually ghosts or spirits in movies have the ability to walks through walls or be wherever they need to without much effort.

But that wasn't the only problem. There is a lot of drama behind whether or not she will stay. I mean, it's in the title. And the whole premise was centered around the fact that it was her choice. But was it? For most of the movie, her spirit self didn't seem in control of the situation at all. There were even times where she was encouraging her dying self as if it was a separate person. But then it seemed like she was in control. And then wasn't again. And then was? I think? I don't even know how the final decision was made. It was confusing.

But yet again, that wasn't even all. The hospital workers were the rudest hospital workers that I've ever seen realistically portrayed. Usually hospital workers tell non-family members they can't visit, but the visitors persist and are allowed in. Not this time. The boyfriend just wanted to be with his dying girlfriend and the hospital workers called security on him when he rebelled and then he got dragged out. I mean, what the heck?  It should be like the scene in Remember the Titans when the nurse tells Gary only family can visit and he was like, "He is family. Can't you tell the family resemblance." Or something like that. And she let him in. The boyfriend in If I Stay had to sneak in to see her and the manner in which they got the security officers away was probably the cheesiest and most fake part of the movie.

I don't really blame Chloe Grace Moretz for this. Or the rest of the cast for that matter. Everyone did a good job with what they were given. The problem was that this was just such a boring movie that decent acting couldn't save anything. I suppose the zero chemistry between Chloe and the guy who played her boyfriend could be put on their shoulders, but I still attribute that mostly to bad writing. I guess this movie does have its target crowd and I guess that the target crowd has enjoyed it for reasons that I don't understand. I'm not a part of that target crowd, so that's probably a good portion of the problem. If you know you are a part of this target crowd, I suppose this review is pretty much useless and nothing I said was going to stop you from seeing this anyways. But if you are like me and you aren't a part of this movie's target crowd but you are thinking of seeing it anyways because the trailers did a good advertising job, please listen to me. This movie is not worth your time. At the very least, wait for Redbox, Netflix or something like that so you can turn the movie off easily without much financial consequence when you realize that I'm right. Because this movie is bad. I'd rather go watch that awful Michael Bay produced Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles again. I give If I Stay a 4/10.

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