Chloë Grace Moretz knows her new film, If I Stay, draws easy comparisons to that other doomed teenage romance, The Fault in Our Stars.
But the 17-year-old, who was glued to her phone, texting during our interview, is compelled to point out their differences: “It encompasses a lot more than just death or just young love… [It’s] passion for music, and love of family, and friendship, and bonding… It’s life in a sense.”
Moretz plays Mia Hall, a shy high school-age cello prodigy who falls in love with outgoing rocker Adam (Jamie Blackley), then sees their respective musical interests pull them in different directions. If that’s not heart wrenching enough, Mia and her family get into a terrible car accident that leaves her clinging to life.
While the movie has more broad appeal than TFIOS, it includes enough amorous make-out scenes between Mia and Adam to satisfy any lovesick teen.
So, what are Moretz’s favorite teen love stories? “Wuthering Heights,” she said without blinking. “I’m super dramatic — when I was younger, especially. I kind of love the tragedy of it and the drama.”
Gayle Forman, who wrote the novel on which If I Stay is based and joined for the interview, offered a less Great Books-ready choice: “I was crazy for Sixteen Candles when I was younger, just because it was the first one where the weird girl got the guy.”
Moretz chimed in, “I watched it for the first time the other day and I’m, like, ‘This is super racist and really rape-y.’” Foreign-exchange student Long Duk Dong (Gedde Watanabe) has long been pegged as a racist caricature. But the purported date rape sequence, between the Geek (Anthony Michael Hall) and a drunken Caroline (Haviland Morris) gets less attention. “Be my guest,” Jake Ryan says in the 1984 comedy, offering up his woozy, drunk girlfriend to the Geek. “I could violate her 10 different ways if I wanted to.” Moretz acknowledged that type of leading man would never make it into a movie today. “But, you know, it’s the ’80s,” she said with an eye roll.
Forman moved on to more politically correct teen fare. Say Anything still gives her teen-grade “tingles” as does Dirty Dancing. Moretz enthused, “That was one of my favorites, too. Don’t put Baby in a corner.”
The decidedly non-rape-y If I Stay enters theaters this weekend.
Photo credits: Warner Bros., Universal Pictures, GIF by Paul Rosales