Hi, lovelies! I am SO EXCITED to share with you what I thought of If I Stay! I went with a couple of my best friends and let’s just say it was something none of us will forget for a while.
(Do I really need to do a blurb for what this is about? Ok, I’ll make this quick. Girl & her family are in a car crash, girl needs to decide if she wants to stay or if she wants to move on to the next world with her family. DONE.)
Right. So as you may recall, I reread this book a few weeks ago to prep for this. If you’re looking for a 100% faithful adaptation, this isn’t quite it. It does stay very faithful to the story, absolutely, but it does take some liberties. And in a way, I almost think I liked this more than the book. (*Gasp!*) Let me explain.
First of all, as if we didn’t already know this, Chloe Grace Moretz is a genius and she plays Mia in a way that is honest and heartfelt. You know what Mia’s feeling because you can see it on her face. Her Mia is shy and self-conscious and still free-spirited when she wants to be.
And Jamie Blackley (Adam)…he was a joy to watch and not just because he’s good looking, though that certainly didn’t hurt anything. This Adam was full of raw emotions that he usually unleashed through his music, but he was also somewhat aloof. And he’s such a charmer, almost always saying the perfect thing at the right time.
Right. So casting was great, not just for these two. The movie stays true to the book in that it flips between the present and the past. As my friend put it, “It feels you up with joy [the past] and then it rips your heart out [the present] and then it does it again.” It’s so true. Whenever you start feeling emotional, it jumps to something a little happier. For the first half of the movie, that keeps you away from the tissues. After that, though…
One thing this movie does is it elaborates on the other perspectives in the story. We learn more about Mia’s parents. We learn more about Adam’s history (which may be in Where She Went and I just don’t remember it). These things are small, but they add so much heart to the story.
I have to say it. There’s one thing this movie does way better than the book, simply because of its medium: the music. It’s one thing to read about Adam and Mia playing their respective instruments. It’s entirely another to be blown away by Mia’s playing or Adam’s vocals. As someone who has never been musically gifted beyond singing, it’s so cool to see and hear musicians at their best.
A requirement of this movie is that you must have tissues. It hits everyone in the theatre. Throughout the movie, there were sniffles coming from all directions. And it seemed to hit people at different times too. I know what affected me deeply wasn’t the same as what affected my friends. For nearly the entire second half of the movie, you will be crying with brief reprieves along the way. My friends and I left the movie feeling emotionally drained, but in a good way. It’s a touching movie with so many tender moments that just rip your heart out.
I highly recommend this movie. Just know that you’re gonna be a hot mess by the time you leave the theatre.