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The Critics Roundup: 'If I Stay' and 'Sin City 2: A Dame to Kill For'
Image: The Weinstein Company
Eva Green in 'Sin City 2: A Dame to Kill For'

We can’t get to every movie, unfortunately—so in this weekly roundup, we take a look at two we didn’t get to review and see what other critics are saying.

“Love is likely the most powerful and multipurpose emotion we humans are blessed with. And it's the heart and soul of If I Stay,” says PluggedIn’s Bob Hoose, “But this story is more than just a dewy-eyed romance.” If I Stay “becomes more about the love of life than just the love of a cute guy,” making it different from most dramatic romances. Despite this, immorality, a theme “that YA literature and teen romance movies promulgate all too often” seems to be at the heart of this story. Variety’s Justin Chang disagrees with Hoose, believing If I Stay is nothing more than Warner Bros. “attempt to cash in on the current craze for mortality-obsessed YA material,” i.e. The Fault in Our Stars. “While many in the audience may well find themselves getting misty-eyed,” says Chang, “the overall execution is so pedestrian that it’s possible to feel more moved by the filmmakers’ good intentions than by the actual emotional content onscreen.”

Overall, PluggedIn’s Paul Asay says Sin City: A Dame to Kill For “asks audiences to root for bad characters to do bad things to even worse characters.” PluggedIn’s review doesn’t seem to have a single positive comment within it, and Asay is disgusted by the film’s portrayal of women as objects meant to be merely used and abused. Asay compares Sin City to the town in C.S. Lewis’ A Great Divorce: “people living in a dark and joyless place, surrounded by their own sin and fear. They can leave if they want: heaven itself beckons. And yet many are simply unwilling to move.” Although nudity and violence are usually what secular audience’s are looking for, Variety’s Justin Chang says fans will be disappointed with the long-awaited sequel to the 2005 Sin City, which is a “grimly repetitive exercise in style.” As Chang explains, “Rare indeed is the movie that features this many bared breasts, pummeled crotches and severed noggins and still leaves you checking your watch every 10 minutes.”

Larisa Kline is an intern with Christianity Today Movies and a student at The King's College in New York City.

Watch This Way
How we watch matters at least as much as what we watch. TV and movies are more than entertainment: they teach us how to live and how to love one another, for better or worse. And they both mirror and shape our culture.
Alissa Wilkinson
Alissa Wilkinson is Christianity Today's chief film critic and assistant professor of English and humanities at The King's College in New York City. She lives in Brooklyn.
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The Critics Roundup: 'If I Stay' and 'Sin City 2: A Dame to Kill ...