Blu-ray Review: If I Stay

Chloe Grace Moretz either has a knack for picking roles or one of the best management teams in Hollywood. Why? Her career choices have led her to being able to transition from child star to serious film actress flawlessly as a teenager, at least so far. Plenty of actresses in her position would’ve taken her path and become an “It girl” following her breakout performance as Hit-Girl in Kick-Ass. Moretz instead has picked a wide variety of roles and stayed away from anything trying to play on her sex appeal as she’s aged. It’s quite interesting because instead of trying to find an inroad to becoming a celebrity, she’s focused on becoming an actress of note. The former is easier and but the latter lasts longer.

It’s good to see that some actresses in Hollywood are more interested in their craft than trying to get on the cover of US Weekly regularly. It’s rare and shows either amazing judgment from a young actress … or a management team that doesn’t want her to become just another pretty face in the crowd.

Simple premise to If I Stay. Mia (Moretz) and her family are in a terrible accident on the highway. Looking back at her life via flashbacks, her future will be a grim one as her parents and younger brother are dead. But will she wake up? We don’t know … neither does her wannabe rockstar boyfriend (Jamie Blackley). The film follows her as she wanders through the highs, and lows, of her life so far as her body decides whether or not she’ll make it through and wake up.

It’s an interesting choice of a role because it requires an actress with a delicate touch. Moretz has it, and we care about Mia because Moretz has a delicate touch as an actress. This is a difficult role because of the film’s necessary melodrama. Some actresses would overdo it in certain areas, in particular the flashbacks to the less than happy moments of her life, but Moretz manages to balance out what could be the overwrought and grounds it in reality. Moretz is a skilled enough actress that she isn’t going to do what a lot of actresses would do, which is to overplay the role. Instead we get a more honest performance than what a film like this would normally garner and the film is better off for it.

Unfortunately the film is fairly overwrought melodrama throughout, leaving it closer to something like The Fault in Our Stars than something more adult for an actress like Moretz. This is a good stopgap film for her career, something that’ll be a way for her to transition out of anything that a young actress would take. It’s a slightly less than mediocre film that’s a footnote in the career of an actress, nothing more.

A handful of EPK pieces are included alongside an audio commentary from the director as well as some deleted scenes and the usual trailers/images.

MGM presents If I Stay. Directed by R.J Cutler. Written by Shauna Cross, based on the novel by Gayle Forman. Starring Chloe Grace Moretz, Jamie Blackley, Mireille Enos, Joshua Leonard, Liana Liberato, Stacy Keach. Run Time: 107 minutes. Rated PG-13. Released: November 18, 2014.

Tags: , ,