If I Stay: Sentimental Melodrama Based on Best-Seller Novel

Based on the 2009 YA best-selling novel of the same name by Gayle Forman, “If I Stay” is the latest Hollywood effort to capture the coveted demographic of female teenagers.

The rapidly rising star Chloë Grace Moretz stars as Mia Hall, a bright girl who believed that the hardest decision she would ever face would be whether to pursue her musical dreams at Juilliard, or follow a different path to be with the love of her life, Adam (Jamie Blackley),a singer-guitarist.

But what should have been a fun, carefree family drive changes everything in an instant in a car accident that kills her parents and puts her in coma. From now on, Mia’s own life hangs in the balance.

Caught between life and death for one revealing day, Mia has only one decision left, which will not only determine her future but also her ultimate fate.

Director  R. J. Cutler, who is better known for documenatries (“The September Issue”) should be commended for trying to avoid visual cliches of individual in a state of coma–Mia does not walk through walls.

To create a more compelling and realistic effect, Cutler relies on an intricate sound system and Steadicam.

“If I Stay,” which is being backed by Warner-New Line and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer is expected to make $18 million to $20 million when it debuts in 2,902 locations this weekend.

While the low-budget weepy won’t hit the lofty numbers of another adaptation of YA novel, “The Fault in Our Stars,” it still looks up to sell a lot of tickets along with Kleenex.

“It looks like it could be a breakout based on the reactions on Facebook and Twitter,” said Phil Contrino, vice president and chief analyst of BoxOffice.com. “It seems to be connecting with the same crowds that lined up for ‘Fault in Our Stars.’ This month has had a lot of male-skewing action pictures, so the timing is good.”

If tracking holds, that would represent a nice return for the $11 million production.

The biggest challenge to “If I Stay’s” supremacy will be the continued strength of “Guardians and the Galaxy” and “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles,” which should bring in between $14 million and $15 million in their fourth and third weeks in theaters.

 

MPAA: PG-13

Running time: 106 minutes