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If I Stay

Year: 2014
Production Co: DiNovi Pictures
Studio: Warner Bros
Director: R J Cutler
Producer: Denise DiNovi
Writer: Shauna Cross
Cast: Chloë Grace Moretz, Liana Liberato, Josh Leonard, Mireille Enos, Jamie Blackley, Stacy Keach, Gabrielle Ross

I'm not sure what drew me to this teen weepie – it certainly wasn't pitched at anyone in my age group, and I was sure the overuse of the word 'like' (as all these movies have) would drive me up the wall, but it actually had a real beauty and a very nice sense of style.

Mia (Chloë Grace Moretz) has two cool rock and roll-loving parents who still have the attitude and the music in their souls, a little brother and a love of the cello (in a strange twist of fate considering her origins).

When the family is involved in a terrible car accident, Mia finds herself wandering the halls of the hospital in spiritual form as everyone from her best friend (Liana Liberato) and her grandparents (Gabrielle Rose and Stacy Keach) rush in to be with her as she lays in a coma in what might be her deathbed.

The action cuts back and forth from the hospital to her life as she meets and falls in love with Adam (Jamie Blackley). He's a handsome and cool band guitarist and the pair seem made for each other. The two strands of the story eventually come together as we learn Mia has applied for an elite music school across the country, which would separate her and Adam and has caused a rift in their relationship.

As she relives everything that's happened to her in the previous tumultuous year, Mia has to decide if her life is worth staying in (hence the title).

Moretz has a really likeable vulnerability and she's a pretty good actress, she's just not quite assured enough to carry a movie to this extent – you can see the cracks in her performance, her acting clearly visible through them.

But despite the subject matter, director RJ Cutler manages to make it soulful and beautiful without it getting schmaltzy, also giving it a strong throughline with the motif of music. Most of the characters are fairly smart people and the script keeps the 'teenishness' to a minimum, which is a relief.

And yes, that guy playing Mia's father Denny is Josh Leonard, the unfortunate blonde cameraman from The Blair Witch Project all those years ago.

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