"Stay Away from IF I STAY?"

Content: -3 Excessive content and/or worldview problems.

What You Need To Know:

IF I STAY is about Mia, a teenage girl who gets in a car accident with her family, has an out of body experience, and must decide to live or die. Mia sees her body taken to the hospital after the accident. While this occurs, she has flashbacks of the love of her life, Adam. Adam and Mia date for a while. Both are musicians, Mia a classical cello player, and Adam part of a band. When Mia applies to Julliard, their relationship is put in jeopardy.

IF I STAY is poorly structured, with a strong pagan worldview mixed with Romantic elements. Mia is presented with the option of living or dying, by walking into the proverbial light at the end of a tunnel. In reality, of course, people don’t have the ability to decide whether to live or die, or go to Heaven, God does, through faith in Jesus Christ. Other negative content includes implied fornication between two teenagers, underage drinking, foul language, and parenting with no discipline. Media-wise viewers probably will think IF I STAY wasn’t worth their time and money.


(PaPaPa, FRFR, Ro, C, Ho, LLL, V, S, N, A, M) Very strong pagan worldview, with some false religious ideas, about a woman who has to make the choice to live or die, which stresses worldly pleasures and glorifies this world, with no mention of the supernatural beliefs from the Bible, though there’s a priest shown talking but not heard, and a light at the end of the tunnel implies an afterlife, mixed with some Romantic elements promoting a follow your heart lifestyle, and parents don’t discipline and say any decisions are up to the child, plus light redemptive mentions of father sacrificing for his family and two lesbian homosexual characters; 17 obscenities (including two “f” words), one strong profanity and 15 light profanities; car crash but not graphic, characters taken to hospital, surgeons have blood on their hands and work on patients; implied fornication between minors, kissing, crude dialogue, and woman kisses woman and is said to be homosexual; upper male nudity, but teenagers seen in bed naked but with sheets over them, girls wear low-cut tops; drinking and brief underage drinking; no smoking or drugs; and, lying and parents don’t discipline their children.

More Detail:

IF I STAY is about a teenage girl who gets in a car accident with her family, has an out of body experience, and must decide to live or die. IF I STAY has a strong pagan worldview mixed with Romantic elements, lots of foul language and implied teenage fornication.

Mia is a high school student in a very musical family. The rest of Mia’s family enjoys rock music, but she loves classical and has a passion for learning the cello. When the family has a snow day off, they decide to take a drive. They are hit by an oncoming car, and Mia wakes up and sees the wreck. Surprisingly, Mia sees herself and realizes she’s having an out of body experience. Mia’s body is taken to the hospital, but she doesn’t really know what has happened to her family.

Flashbacks start to come to Mia. They begin when she first met someone she loved dearly, Adam. Adam had seen Mia playing the cello at school. Being a musician himself, he admired her. Adam asks Mia out for a date. They go to a musical performance and a romance begins.

Meanwhile, Adam’s band has been gaining recognition. So, he starts to travel more and more for different concerts. At the same time, Mia has decided to audition for Julliard but hasn’t told Adam yet, because she fears he’d be sad since they had decided to get a place together once she graduates from high school.

Once Mia tells Adam about her plans, he becomes enraged that she hadn’t told him before about the possibility they won’t be living together. Mia has to make the decision whether or not she should go to Julliard if she is accepted, even though she will be away from Adam.

As these memories are coming back, Mia is in and out of the hospital. She learns both her parents have died in the accident, and her brother may not make it. Ultimately, Mia must decide if she should fight to live or just give it all up.

Based on a young adult novel, IF I STAY has a strong pagan worldview mixed with some Romantic elements. It seems as if Mia is presented with the option of living or dying by walking into “the light.” In reality, humans don’t have that kind of control, only God does, through faith in Jesus Christ. The only supernatural indication in the movie is the tunnel of life, with no mention of God or Jesus or heaven, as described in the New Testament. As the Bible tells us, we must accept Jesus in this life in order to get to heaven.

Other problems with IF I STAY include implied sexual relations of unwed teenagers, underage drinking and parenting with no discipline. The movie shows no repercussions for these actions, but actually seems to glorify them. Mia’s parents tell her she can do whatever she pleases. In fact, they even prompt her to “have fun,” which is destructive advice because it is so vague and doesn’t seem to come with any objective standards for living one’s life. Thus, IF I STAY presents a completely unrealistic, false view of reality.

Though the question of what Mia will decide is absorbing enough, the story in IF I STAY doesn’t flow very well as it transitions from reality to flashbacks. The movie does this constantly, which leads to rather awkward pacing. Also, the movie’s dialogue is somewhat trite, even for a mainstream romantic movie. The most successful element is the cinematography, but, overall, media-wise viewers probably will think the movie wasn’t worth their time and money.

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