Title: If I Stay (Official Site)
Tag Line: Live for love.
Release Date: 22 August 2014
Runtime: 106 min
Series or Standalone: Series
Where Seen: Movie Screening
Production Company: DiNovi Pictures, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM), New Line Cinema
Distributed By: Warner Bros.
Director(s): R.J. Cutler
Writer(s): Shauna Cross (screenplay), Gayle Forman (novel)
Stars: Chloë Grace Moretz (Mia Hall), Mireille Enos (Kat), Jamie Blackley (Adam), Joshua Leonard (Denny), Liana Liberato (Kim), Stacy Keach (Gramps), Gabrielle Rose (Gran), Jakob Davies (Teddy), Ali Milner (Liz), Aisha Hinds (Nurse Ramirez), Gabrielle Cerys Haslett (Young Mia), Lauren Lee Smith (Willow), Christine Willes (Nurse Davis), Chelah Horsdal (Liddy)
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
As a book I wasn’t overly fond of If I Stay there was just something about the writing and how some of the scenes played out that just turned me off. So much so that as of writing this, If I Stay is the only Gayle Forman book that I’ve read despite so many people telling me how much I NEED to read her others. When I first heard that If I Stay was going to be turned into a movie I may have sighed and though but what about <<insert other book titles here>>. THAT one would make a far better movie and while I do still think that there are other realistic contemporary young adult books that should be made into movies I’m not as ambivalent to If I Stay as I once was.
The previews didn’t wow me for this movie and if it wasn’t for recieving screening passes then I probably would have waited for this one to stream on Netflix before I watched it. But if I had then I would have missed out on something special. If I Stay is one of those rare instances where the movie is better than the book. Chloë Grace Moretz really shines as Mia and she just took my breath away with the range of emotion she managed to convey. Mia’s role isn’t an easy and Moretz does a fabulous job bringing the before and after Mia to life. The supporting cast was also super excellent and I loved every one. The only actor that I had issues with was Jamie Blackley who played Adam and often came across as stiff on screen. Some of this though might be projection to some of the idiotic things that the character of Adam does in this story. There is so much push and pull between these two as they each try to hold on to each other while also trying to follow their dreams that it really tugs on the heart strings.
Another thing that this movie did really well was how it wove in Mia’s past with her present as she wandering about the hospital trying to figure out what she should do next. I was engrossed in this movie and got so caught up in the story that the world around me mostly fell away. I say mostly because I couldn’t seem to stop thinking about how Mia in the now was barefoot for all of her scenes. I keep thinking that poor actress and can someone please give her some shoes as those floors have to be cold! But those moments were fleeting and I mostly just sat there engrossed. My heart aching as events moved forward and we got to see all the various hurts and all those wonderful family moments that you almost wanted Mia to leave. Though at the same time there was still so much left for her to stay for that you are really torn on what choice you want her to make.
If I Stay nearly brought me to tears as well. Ok, there were some tears but just before this movie made me want to ugly cry (as others in the audience did) it moved to a past memory that was so heart achingly perfect that you can’t help but smile and laugh and want to freeze time right there. Right at that perfect moment so that the accident and nothing bad happens and these characters can just stay with each other forever with no hard choices needing to be made. Sadly though you can’t freeze time and bad things do happen and somehow you have to find the strength to pick yourself up and move on.
The soundtrack for If I Stay was also one of the best film soundtracks that I can recall in a very long time. Each song chosen and every note of the musical score was just perfect for the scene that it was in. Its a soundtrack that makes you want to immediatly run out to buy it just so you can relive all those moments in the film. And the storyline of the story along with how it ends makes me want to read Where She Went for the first time. I want to know more about these characters and what happens next. Though I think I am more fortunate than some in the theatre as I know there is more story to tell. There were several gasps in the audience at the final seen and I heard a couple “That’s it?”, “That can’t be how it ends”, and “What happens next?”.
If I Stay was a movie that I was on the fence for but its one that I am so glad that I went to see. I think those that loved the book and those who, like me, didn’t care for it as much will like this movie adaptation. This is how Hollywood should adapt books into film and I hope that they decide to turn Where She Went into a film as well. As I almost would prefer to experience that story on the screen than in print.