8.25.2014

What If I Stay

Last weekend, (locally at least...) two films made their debuts in theaters that both focused on romantic dilemmas and both happened to have really bland, yet similar titles. So I decided to review them side by side, just for the sake of a good movie title mashup (see blog title. Also RIP Jeff Vice, whose favorite game this was.) So without further ado, I'll give you my thoughts on What If, and If I Stay.

We'll begin with the more mainstream option: If I Stay. The movie centers on a character (I'm not gonna lie....I already forgot everyone's name in this...) played by Chloe Moretz, who happens to be in a coma. Her and her family were in a serious car accident and were all rushed to the hospital, and SPOILER ALERT(highlight to read) none of her family survives. /SPOILER ALERT. The nurse tells her, it's up to her if she wants to live or not, she's just gotta fight for it. So she recalls everything going on in her life to evaluate whether she should pass on or keep fighting. Right before the accident, she was caught between wanting to pursue a musical education at Julliard and following her heart of course. Very inconvenient when the possible love of your life lives across the country amirite? If I Stay has its moments. It certainly poses some interesting ideas and questions to the viewer. But it was definitely too long, and for me... a little overly schmaltzy. Something was off too in the casting of the family in particular. Chloe Moretz did a fine job, but everyone around her was kinda hard to buy. Minus the girl (from Flipped) who played her best friend. The movie could have used a few less make out scenes, and more of the BFF. I give it a 6/10 on a generous day.

My biggest issue with the movie was the wardrobe crew for giving her a tiny skirt to wear in THE MIDDLE OF WINTER!

Now let's talk What If? I heartily enjoyed this movie....and I gotta say if Daniel Radcliffe had been switched out for JGL, this might be one of my new favorite movies! That's not to say the guy doesn't do a fine job....it's just, well... he shouldn't really be a romantic lead (even if he DOES fit the character of someone who would be friend-zoned.) For a romantic movie to work when one of the characters has two viable romantic options, the audience should naturally come to the same conclusion of which one she or he should be with. That's not to say the choice shouldn't be complex, or something that can be argued; but generally it should be clear enough. Their chemistry makes up for it, but all I'm saying is at times it was pretty hard to buy. However, that didn't really detract me from liking the movie when in other cases it could have. The writing makes up for it, as does Zoe Kazan. I already liked her work in Ruby Sparks and happythankyoumoreplease, and once again she's one of the best things about the movie she's in. But luckily these two didn't have to carry the whole movie. What If benefits from a strong supporting cast, which I think is huge in rom-coms...or any movie really. The only thing I would change (besides some of the language I guess..) is some of the attempts at whimsy. Zoe's character is an illustrator and every now again her weird illustrations pop up, and the volume at which they did so was odd. Either go full on out with whimsy like Amelie, (500) Days of Summer or Annie Hall. Otherwise, stick to the realism. EMILY RATING: 8/10.

4 comments:

Johanna said...

Yeah, you gotta want to be with the guy yourself for a rom com to work. At least they are still making some.

Sarah said...

Very interesting. It is a good point that as a woman watching the show, in a way, you kind of have to love the romantic lead too for it to work.

They sound interesting...but I'm pretty sure I won't be making an effort to go and see either of these.

Oh, and what the crap?! I had no idea Jeff Vice had passed away. I had to look it up. Complications and heart failure due to an asthma attack. Very sad.

Emily said...

Yep. I think that's exactly the problem I had with it. But I still liked it anyway. Kind of like Billy Crystal in When Harry Met Sally. But yeah, I'm just glad it's a well made rom-com. Can't complain TOO much.

Johanna said...

We finally watched it last night. I liked it. Yes, no one is going to pin a poster of Daniel Radcliff on the wall, but he worked.

Nice little movie.