BWW Review Roundup: Best Selling Novel IF I STAY Hits the Big Screen!

Adapted from Gayle Forman's novel of the same name, "If I Stay" hits theaters today, August 22nd. The film was directed by R.J. Cutler, with an original score by renowned musician Heitor Pereira.

The story revolves around 17-year-old Mia, a young girl looking to pursue her musical dream by attending Juillard in the fall. However, Mia's world is rocked when an ordinary family drive leads to the deaths of her parents and younger brother; Mia wakes up to discover she's having an out-of-body experience, in which she watches herself lay in a coma in the hospital. She soon realizes that she has been given the oppurtunity to make a choice; leave this world and be with her deceased family, or stay on Earth and remain with her friends, remaining family, and boyfriend.

"If I Stay" stars Chloë Grace Moretz as Mia, accompanied by Jamie Blackley, Joshua Leonard, and Mireille Enos.

Let's see what the critics had to say!

A.O. Scott, The New York Times: It is hard to avoid comparing "If I Stay," which opens on Friday, with "The Fault in Our Stars," but there is also no reason to choose between them. Each one is a cleanly directed, credibly acted machine for the production of tears.

Ann Hornaday, The Washington Post: ...even at its most wrenchingly painful, the film readily delivers generous dollops of pleasure.

Michael Phillips, The Chicago Tribune: Director R.J. Cutler, who comes out of documentaries, reality TV ("Flip That House") and series television ("Nashville"), has succeeded with "If I Stay" where several recent movies taken from teen-aimed fiction have come up a little short.

Jon Frosch, Hollywood Reporter: ...such lines may work on the page, but whispered ardently on the big screen accompanied by soft emo rock, they land with a thud - and the movie keeps them coming at an alarming pace.

Anna Storm, Film Journal: All of this is to say If I Stay effectively delivers on its promise of a weeper for teenagers. It will not disappoint its market, and it will not convert the uninitiated.

Walter Addiego, Sacramento Bee: "If I Stay," based on Gayle Forman's popular novel for young adults, is likely to appeal to youthful fans of the book and the movie's star, Chloë Grace Moretz, an audience that may not recognize the clichéd situations and the artless dialogue for what they are.

Josh Bell, Las Vegas Weekly: Aside from hokey "go into the light" moments, director R.J. Cutler presents Mia's life in both purgatory and the real world with flat TV-movie sameness. Stay or go, it's hard to care either way.

Stephen Whitty, Star-Ledger: Even at just a little over 100 minutes, the film seems like a long slow slog through familiar melodrama. Nothing feels real, let alone at risk.

Liz Braun, Toronto Sun: If I Stay turns out to be such an endurance test for an audience that it may be tough for anyone to care whether Mia pegs it in the end or not.

Kimber Myers, Indie Wire: This adaptation didn't require quite the leap that the motherhood manual did, but instead of giving us a really good cry, but the film wasn't engaging enough to even smudge our mascara.

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From This Author Danielle DeSisto

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