These days, I thank my lucky stars – no matter how faulty – for Young Adult film adaptations. They are the last bastion of the big Hollywood weepie, a film genre that is sorely needed, if only so the average American can permit him- or herself to cry from time to time. Of course, the best weepies are so high-quality that we don’t feel embarrassed after we’ve dried our tears – think It’s a Wonderful Life, Gone with the Wind, and Terms of Endearment. Even E.T. is a well-crafted weepie in its own way.
If I Stay, the adaptation of Gayle Forman’s 2009 best-selling YA novel, is not. For long stretches, it seems like a TV pilot for a WB show that, rightfully, did not get picked up. Nonetheless, it evokes a cacophony of strong emotions – even at the critics’ screening I attended, much sniffing and nose-blowing could be heard – and for that reason cannot be dismissed out of hand. At least, not in this decidedly ungolden era of tough-guy cinema, in which action pics rule the multiplex and emotionality has been utterly ghettoized to Indiewood. Continue Reading →