If I Stay Parent Guide
"If I Stay" offers a highly predictable and sentimental love story about a teenager torn between her love of music and her love of a boy.
Parent Movie Review
If you’ve watched the movie trailer for If I Stay, then you already have a pretty good idea of what happens in this story. The only thing missing is the final three seconds where everything is resolved. Knowing what is coming likely won’t be a problem for fans of the novel this film is based on. But parents may feel differently about the antics of this young girl.
If I Stay offers a highly predictable and sentimental love story about a teenager torn between her love of music and her love of a boy. Mia Hall (Chloë Grace Moretz) plays the cello like an angel. Her parents (Mireille Enos, Joshua Leonard), rock-n-rollers from a previous generation, aren’t sure where their daughter’s appreciation for classical music came from, but they are supportive of her blossoming talent. Mia’s boyfriend Adam (Jamie Blackley), also a member of a rock band, enjoys hearing her play as well. Life is almost perfect.
Then everything changes in an instant on a snowy highway.
Suspended between life and death in an out-of-body experience, Mia watches from the sidelines as her comatose self is rushed to the hospital to undergo surgery. Standing beside the gurney, she watches Nurse Ramirez (Aisha Hinds) lean into her ear and tell her to fight. Yet with her world crumbling around her, Mia struggles to decide if she’ll stay or go into the bright light at the end of the hall.
Like many movies aimed at adolescents, this one portrays characters involved in casual sex and drinking. But in this film, these aren’t college students or young adults. When the story begins Adam is a senior in high school and Mia a junior. Despite the fact she’s likely only 16, Mia gulps down liquor she’s been served in a bar (in a state where the legal drinking age is 21) while attending one of Adam’s gigs. And though Mia’s hipster parents may be more liberal than some in their outlook, there doesn’t seem to be any concerns about their daughter’s sexual activity. There certainly aren’t any consequences for her choices. As far as Mia’s mom is concerned, life is just one big mess so just live it. While that may be true, it could get a whole lot messier than it needs to be if teen viewers imitate the actions of these characters.
The story jumps between the present and a jumble of flashbacks designed to fill in the details of Mia’s young life. Among the most redeeming elements are the relationships she shares with her family, including her brother Teddy (Jakob Davies) and her Grandpa (Stacey Keach). She’s also lucky to have friends and relations who stand by her unconscious body offering words of comfort and hope. It’s then that Mia learns about the sacrifices her parents made to encourage her talent.
Unfortunately while those heartwarming moments are meant to generate tears, they don’t excuse the content issues that arise in this film. Sex and alcohol aside, Adam also pressures Mia to give up her dream of auditioning for Julliard in order to support his ambitions. While love often means making sacrifices, this seems like an awfully hefty concession for the exceptional cellist to have to make at such a young age.Directed by R.J. Cutler. Starring Chloë Grace Moretz, Mireille Enos, Liana Liberato . Running time: 106 minutes. Theatrical release August 22, 2014. Updated July 17, 2017
If I Stay
Rating & Content Info
Why is If I Stay rated PG-13? If I Stay is rated PG-13 by the MPAA for thematic elements and some sexual material.
Violence: Characters are killed in a car crash. Some blood and injuries are portrayed. Doctors have blood on their hands during a medical operation. A girl screams and lashes out after she learns of the death of a loved one.
Sexual Content: A teen couple kisses frequently. A girl asks that they go slow and later admits she has not had sex before. The couple is seen undressing one another and tight shots show some brief depictions of bare shoulders while making love. The couple is shown in bed together after having sex on another occasion. A woman asks a man to autograph her partially exposed breast. Some brief innuendo is included as well.
Language: The script contains numerous uses of scatological slang, course language, mild and moderate profanities, terms of Deity and some vulgar expressions and slurs.
Alcohol / Drug Use: Characters make references to illegal drugs. Underage teen characters drink on several occasions including in a bar, at a home party and in social settings. Adults also drink. A man is shown with a pipe in his mouth.
Page last updated July 17, 2017
More parents' guide for If I Stay after the break...
If I Stay Parents' Guide
What sacrifices do parents make for their children in this movie? How does Adam’s experience of a family differ from that of Mia’s? Why is he so afraid of her going away to school? Are his concerns understandable or is he too possessive? Should one member in a relationship have to give up everything in order to support the other?
At the hospital Nurse Ramirez takes a special interest in Mia. What difference does her compassionate care make in Mia’s treatment? What, in addition to medical intervention, is involved in a patient’s recovery? What role does the bedside vigilance of family and friends play?
What trendy elements are portrayed in this film’s settings? Do you think it is possible that the depictions of vinyl records, old style bikes and dial phones might make these items popular with viewing audiences? Are teen wardrobes likely to be influenced by the young characters’ clothing in this movie?
The most recent home video release of If I Stay movie is November 18, 2014. Here are some details…Home Video Notes: If I Stay
Release Date: 18 November 2014
If I Stay releases to home video (Blu-ray + DVD + Digital HD Combo or DVD) with the following extras:
Blu-ray Exclusive Special Features
-“I Never Wanted To Go” Music Montage
-Beyond The Page featuring interviews with the cast, crew and Author Gayle Forman (The Love of Music, Adapting IF I STAY and An Out of Body Experience)
Blu-ray and DVD Special Features
-“Never Coming Down” Music Video
- Free download from the If I Stay Soundtrack of the song “Mind” courtesy of WaterTower Music
- Deleted Scenes Commentary by R.J. Cutler and Alison Greenspan (Bookstore and Hospital Chapel)
- Audio Commentary by R.J. Cutler and Alison Greenspan
- Music Commentary by R.J. Cutler (Who Needs You, Until We Get There, I Want What You Have, All of Me, Promise, Never Coming Down, Halo, I Will be There, Mind, Morning, I Never Wanted To Go, Karen Revisited, Today, Heart Like Yours, Heal (If I Stay Version), Suite No. 1 in G Major for Solo Cello, BWV 1007: Prelude, Cello Concerto in a Minor, Op. 33, and Sonata in B Minor for Solo Cello, Op.)
- Image Gallery
- Theatrical Trailer
Related home video titles:
Another aspiring musician faces tough life choices in Little Secrets. A man is given the gift of seeing the way the world would be if he had never existed in It’s A Wonderful Life. Based on a true story, a young boy recounts his life after death experience in Heaven is for Real. And unsettled spirits watch the living in The Sixth Sense and Ghost Town.