I’m so used to seeing Chloë Moretz either kicking ass as a masked vigilante or with extraordinary abilities in a horror remake (Let Me In, Carrie) that it’s always a bit jarring to see the young actress play a, you know, regular teenager. The trailer for If I Stay, an adaptation of Gayle Forman’s bestselling novel, features Moretz caressing the cello and canoodling with boys. If that’s all this story had to offer I wouldn’t have bothered posting that cloying stuff to a site dedicated to all things geek. I haven’t read Forman’s novel, so just as I was about to close the window for the trailer, the supernatural/other plane aspect of the film kicked in. Here’s the synopsis for the movie to give you a clue as to what’s in store for you so you don’t make the same mistake I almost did:
On a day that started like any other, Mia (Moretz) had everything: a loving family, an adoring boyfriend, and a bright future full of music. Suddenly, a family drive on a snowy day changes everything. In an instant, almost all of that is taken from her. Caught between life and death, Mia spends one critical day contemplating a future that is now more unknowable than ever. Is love enough to keep her here?
If I Stay looks and sounds a bit like Peter Jackson’s The Lovely Bones, which boasted a more famous cast and director, but ultimately fell flat with the critics and audiences. The Lovely Bones had brutal violence peppered into its remarkable imagery, while If I Stay looks to have a lighter and more consistent tone.
The film was directed by R.J. Cutler and also stars Mireille Enos, Jamie Blackley, and Joshua Leonard. It hits theaters August 22.