R.J. Cutler


(Copyright © 2014 Piero Scaruffi | Legal restrictions )

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R.J. Cutler

If I Stay (2014) is almost a good movie. The way the director weaves together comedy and melodrama, present and past, is powerful as well as charming. But he obviously doesn't know how to end the story without resorting to the most trivial of happy endings.

Mia, a teenager who has never dated before is slowly becoming a cello virtuoso. She has only one friend, Kim, and it is Kim who notices that Adam is getting interested in Mia. Adam plays in a rock band and is very popular. When he asks Mia out on a date, she cannot refuse, especially since it is a classical music concert. Mia's parents are way wilder than her conservative daughter. Her father used to play in a rock band just like Adam and her mother used to be a groupie. They actually encourage Mia to go out with Adam. One night when she begs him to take her home before curfew her mother whispers from the window to just go and have fun instead. But Mia is a tough nut to crack, and school is still her priority. Then one icy day the family drives away in their old car and get into an accident. Mia wakes up by the side of the road and sees ambulances and fire trucks. As she wanders around in shock she realizes that she, Mia, is lying unconscious in a stretcher that is about to be hauled into an ambulance. She gets into the ambulance and follows the comatose Mia to the hospital. Here the flashbacks begin to multiply. On one hand Mia the ghost is running around the hospital trying to find out what happened to her family (and eventually she finds out that her little brother Teddy is still alive). On the other hand her memories tell us of how she fell in love with the cello, how her father bought her an expensive one, how she fell in love with Adam, how Adam became more and more successful and started touring with the band, leaving her alone for longer and longer periods, and how she applied to the top school for classical music and was granted an audition; and how this finally caused Adam to leave her. The flashbacks depict a happy, funny family, which in fact attracts Adam, who grew up basically with no family, as much as Mia's beauty does. Mia the ghost at the hospital sees her grandparents arrive, sees Kim arrive, sees Adam arrive... and leave. The flashbacks show that Adam came back one night to encourage her, and her granpa drove he to the audition and encouraged her even more, mentioning how her dad had also been musically gifted but had to give up music for his family. Back to the hospital, Kim and Adam try in vain to get into Mia's room. She is in intensive care and nobody is allowed to approach her except close family. Adam is almost ejected from the hospital for trying. Mia the ghost hears that her little brother is dead. It is another terribly shock that is reflected on Mia the comatose patient, whose conditions worsen. But later her granpa takes her bedside and tells her in tears of how she got the expensive cello: her father quit his rock band, sold his equipment, and bought an expesive cello for his little girl who was such a musical prodigy. Mia the ghost realizes what a sacrifice her father made for her to become a musician. Finally, Adam is allowed to enter the room and talk to the comatose Mia. Adam reads the letter that he found at her place: she has been accepted by the top music college. And he swears that he will follow her there... if she stays. Then he sings the song that he has composed for her. In a typical Hollywood-ian happy ending, she opens her eyes.
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(Copyright © 2014 Piero Scaruffi | Legal restrictions )