Director: R.J. Cutter
Summary: Life changes in an instant for young Mia Hall after a car accident puts her in a coma. During an out-of-body experience, she must decide whether to wake up and live a life far different than she had imagined. (Via IMDB.)
I loved If I Stay. It is one of best books I read this year so when it became a film, my friend and I counted down the days until it would arrive in a cinema near us and last night it was finally released. We climbed in the car, probably broke a few speed limits and seated ourselves with a ridiculous amount of popcorn, already teary eyed then the film started…and I was disappointed.
I think if I hadn’t read the book, I would have adored this film. It was sweet, at times funny, at times painfully awkward and yes, it was sad, but it lacked the power of the book. One of my favourite aspects of the book was that we saw Mia’s spirit or soul or whatever you want to call it begin to fade, you saw and felt her get weaker and that doesn’t happen in the film. She is running around non-stop so it was hard to believe that she was as weak as she was supposed to be and that made it hard to believe that she was that close to death.
I also didn’t like their characterisation of Adam in this film. His personality was closer to that of Where She Went rather than If I Stay and it made it hard to like him or understand why Mia loved him. I think Jamie Blackley did a good job, I can’t really fault his performance but it was very hard for me to like Adam and root for his relationship with Mia.
Likewise, I can’t really fault Chloe Grace Moretz performance all I can say is that it lacked a certain power for me. On a very basic level she was fine but she never really got into my heart and twisted it like I expected her to. So, that was disappointing to me.
I adored the side characters, especially Denny and Kat. Joshua Leonard and Mireille Enos did a fantastic job playing them as did Liana Liberato who played Kim. They felt like the heart of the film to me, far more then the relationship of Adam and Mia. They were wonderful and the minute they appeared on screen they captured me. Just wonderful.
The music of the film was also wonderful. It felt like a separate character and I was so, so glad to see that my favourite scene “The Best Day” was as wonderful as I imagine it to be and the song and the music just made it better.
Overall, I think If I Stay was a good film but it was not the book. Sweet, sad and funny but definitely lacking in the emotional power I expected from a Gayle Forman adaption.