I was lucky enough to score screening tickets for If I Stay 2 weeks before the movie came out thanks to a heads up email from Anna (thanks Anna!). I was excited for 2 reasons: 1) This was my first screening since Iron Will came out, yup, that long ago, and 2) I loved the book by Gayle Forman and the trailer for the movie fed into that love.
Originally I was going to try and read the book again before seeing the movie, but that didn’t really work out. And I have to say I’m kind of happy I didn’t. I remembered enough from when I read it many moons ago. But I also didn’t remember enough to compare it the whole time to the book which I think helped me to enjoy it even more.
What I loved:
- The cast. – I actually thought If I Stay was cast perfectly. I like that they didn’t have a 25 year old playing Mia trying to pretend to be 17 (I’m looking at you 90210!) and that they used unknowns to play Adam and Mia’s parents. It added to the natural feeling of the movie. I didn’t find myself thinking of the actors as other characters they have played in the past. To me, they were Mia, Adam and Denny and Kat. I also really loved the actress they chose to play Kim, Mia’s best friend. She had the perfect vibe down as the best friend.
- Mia and Adam. – Like in the book the relationship on screen played out very organically. I loved how both Chloë Grace Moretz and Jamie Blackley brought these two characters to life, how they seemed to have a natural chemistry that jumped off the screen. They were Mia and Adam for me.
- The music. – If I Stay is a very music driven book. Whether it is Mia with her cello, Denny listening to old songs or his former band or Adam and his band, music is a huge part of the story. It was nice to actually be able to hear that music brought to life. Whether it was the classical or the indie rock or the rock music, it added depth to the story that you may not get from the book. Plus Jamie Blackley singing was HOT!
- The story. – The nuts and bolts of Gayle Forman’s book all stayed intact. Nothing deviated so much from the books that it stood out to me. Sure things were changed for movie making purposes, but it didn’t mess with the essence of the book.
- The humor. – I had honestly forgotten that there was humor in If I Stay since it is such an emotional book. Between Kim and Mia’s parents, I feel like I laughed a lot more than I expected. It was a much needed break in between all of the emotional moments and one of my favorite parts of the movie watching experience.
What I disliked:
- My favorite line of the book was missing from the movie.
Basically I didn’t dislike much. HA.
All in all If I Stay was a great adaption to an excellent Young Adult novel. You don’t need to read the book to enjoy the movie. It will help, but it isn’t needed. When I left the theater my first thought wasn’t that I needed to reread If I Stay or have an itch for the second movie. My first thought was that I needed to reread Where She Went (which I bought on my way home) so I could get wrapped up in the lives of these characters for a little longer. Definitely a movie I would recommend seeing and one I plan on buying when it comes out on DVD.
*Movie out in the theaters today!