When a film begins with scenes of a happy family and a narrator (often a member of said family) talking about how unpredictable life can be, it’s not hard to guess what’s going to happen.

If I Stay begins on a similar note, with Mia Hall (Chloe Grace Moretz) talking about her plans for the future. Soon, we see that life had other plans for her. On a snow day, the Hall family decides to take a road trip, only to be caught in a fatal accident. The film follows Mia’s spirit, as she watches the paramedics and doctors attempt to save the family. Mia, whose body is now in a comatose state, struggles to fight for her life as she slowly loses her family. 

Through the course of this, we are also shown various flashbacks that detail her life. This includes everything like her first cello lesson, and her first kiss, to her dilemma of picking a college. Whether or not Mia will make it through forms the crux of the film.

The two lead characters in the film, Mia and Adam (Jamie Blackley), are musicians. This forms an important sub-plot in the story. Unsurprisingly, the film’s strongest point is its soundtrack. This includes both the songs by the fictional musicians as well as songs by renowned bands. With songs like Karen Revisited, Heal and Who Needs You, the soundtrack is a delight from start to finish. Added to this are beautiful cello melodies, which perfectly-suit the film.

The cinematography is yet another highlight of the film. Even though the plot of the film might not be particularly remarkable, most scenes are aesthetically-pleasing.

Though the actors try their best, their performances are hindered by the mediocre script. The lead performances are unremarkable, but the supporting cast stands out, despite having limited screen time. In fact, Stacy Keach, who plays Mia’s grandfather, manages to make a lasting impression in just one scene.

Even though it gets most of the individual elements right, watching If I Stay is like watching paint dry. The film is dull and slow and every scene seems to drag on for longer than required. Moreover, the film relies on emotional manipulation instead of actually creating three-dimensional and likeable characters. No matter how bad things get for the characters, it’s hard to root for them as they have no depth whatsoever.

Why should you watch this film?
If you are a fan of romantic dramas, you might enjoy If I Stay. Watch the film if you want to watch a cliched romance that lacks much plot development. Everyone else might want to skip this one.

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