In R.J. Cutler's first feature film If I Stay, Mia Hall (Chloe Grace Moretz) has a tough decision to make: stay with the love of her life, high school rock star Adam (Jamie Blackley), or pursue her dreams at the prestigious performing arts school, Julliard. But after being in a serious accident, that decision becomes a choice between life and death.
A famous documentary-maker, Cutler knows how to tell a story; but what's supposed to be Mia's hardest decision doesn't feel that important. But the film makes up for this in other aspects.
Based on Gayle Forman's novel of the same name, the film is beautifully shot. A lack of chronological order is often confusing, but the film uses colours to distinguish the timelines. Hospital scenes are starkly white, while scenes of everyday life are colourful with a charming down-to-earth feel.
In any film, but particularly a romantic one, chemistry between the actors is critical. Not only do Moretz and Blackley pull this off, the chemistry is just as strong with other members of the cast. Special credit goes to Stacy Keach, who plays Mia's grandfather: it's a safe bet that nine out of 10 of those who shed a tear do so because of his heart-wrenching monologue.
If I Stay is all about making decisions; if you watch this film, you'll have made a good one.