If I Stay | Movie Review

2014
Director: R J Cutler
Screenplay: Shauna Cross
Music: Heitor Pereira

I’m a massive fan of book-to-movie adaptations and I’ll watch the film version of pretty much any book. I really enjoyed If I Stay when I read it back in April and I’ve been putting off watching the film until now. And, I really enjoyed it. I can’t remember every single little detail from the book but from what I can remember, it was a really loyal adaptation. I really liked all of the casting choices and visually, this was a really beautiful film. I really connected to Mia’s situation and I adored her family dynamic and especially her relationship with her brother. Some of the characters did annoy me slightly at times, and I did find the voice-overs that Chloe Grace-Moretz did as Mia quite cheesy and really not-needed and I feel like they took away some of the serious themes of the story. I think that if you really loved the book, then this film would be a fantastic one for you. If you’re just watching this film for the first time, then I’d probably lower your expectations.

Mia Hall thought the hardest decision she would ever face would be whether to pursue her musical dreams at Juilliard or follow a different path to be with the love of her life, Adam. But what should have been a carefree family drive changes everything in an instant, and now her own life hangs in the balance. Caught between life and death for one revealing day, Mia has only one decision left, which will not only decide her future but her ultimate fate. During her out-of-body experience, she must decide whether to wake up and live a life far different than she had imagined. The choice is hers if she can go on.

I really liked the depiction of Mia in this film and found her to be a really interesting and relatable character, although I did find her to be quite cheesy at times. I adored seeing her interact with her family because they are all so quirky and loving and interesting to watch. I also loved Mia’s relationship with her brother Teddy because their relationship was so similar to that of me and my own brother. This is one of the only books that I’ve read where I’ve been able to connect to the main character and I really felt everything she felt in regards to her brother. Adam was a great character although some of his actions annoyed me at times, especially in regard to the times when he was dating Mia. Kim was a great best friend and I think that Kim was especially close to the character in the books because she is snarky and says what she thinks. Basically, I really liked these characters but some of them just annoyed me.

I’ve already said that visually, this was a very pleasing film. But everything about this film was just pretty to look at. The palettes were very pastel-themed and white and bright and the only times where this really changed were was Adam’s band were performing and I feel like this emphasises how out-of-place Mia felt. The costumes and the scenery and the music choices in this film really added an extra level to the film and everything was added to show just how different Mia was, or how different she felt, from the rest of her family and from Adam’s world. I also really liked how much classical music was used in this film because that is obviously, a huge part of Mia’s life as she is a cellist. There aren’t many humorous elements and most of the content is quite dark and serious, but there are definitely lighter elements when Mia is looking back on her life.

Overall, I really had a fun time watching this film but I do think it could have been produced slightly better. The script could have been a bit better, some of the scenes could have been a bit better but I still had a good time and I’m really glad to have watched it.

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