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ROB HEDELT reviews movies and TV shows,  and is a  columnist for The Free Lance-Star. You can email him at

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Special young actress makes “If I Stay” worth staying for

There’s only one name you need to care about in the new movie “If I Stay”:  Chloë Grace Moretz.

The young star uses a talent beyond her years and singlehandedly makes something special out of what could easily have been a humdrum, maudlin tale of a high-school girl involved in a horrific car wreck.

The film’s gimmicky plot: a high school girl named Mia is in the terrible accident with her family on a snowy road, then has to decide whether she wants to wake up from a coma and deal with devastating loss.

Just seeing the previews, you’d think young Mia spends the entire film walking around as a sort of ghost, watching her family and friends pull for her to come back from the brink of death.

But the film’s more interesting than that, using flashbacks before and after the accident to help the viewer get to know this unique and interesting young woman.

Born to a rock drummer and a mother who loved that lifestyle, Mia is the opposite of her parents, a classical cellist who never met a party or a wild night she liked.

That is, until she meets a young rock musician of her own, and love starts to bloom.

In between moments when we see just what Mia lost in the crash, we follow a sweet courtship between the young musician and her rock guitarist beau.

With a run of the mill, mundane actress playing Mia, this would all just play like some B-grade teen romance.

But with the talented and youthfully pretty Moretz in the role, the developing romance feels sweet and special, as does her character.

Jamie Blackley is solid as Adam, the rocker who may make the difference as she decides whether she will indeed stay.

Music, both classical and punk, helps to move this tale along, even when it bogs down just a bit before the telltale climax.

Moretz, who was interesting but wrongly cast in “Carrie,” does much better here, making this potentially gloomy film one that will warm your heart.

Even as you dab a few tears away with a tissue.


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