Since the first time I saw the trailer of Gayle Forman’s film adaptation If I Stay, I was intrigued. The film was a couple of months away of its release so I decided to read the book first. Click ‘here’ for the book review I wrote. The film wasn’t a complete disappointment, but I wasn’t as impressed by it as I hoped I would be. After reading the book I had some expectations about the characters. Some of the actors didn’t really add up to my imagination and the chemistry between the main characters – Mia and Adam – wasn’t there. It’s been a while since I read the book so I can’t really remember how they end up with each other in the first place. But while watching the film I thought Mia and Adam were a total misfit. Besides their love for music they have noting in common. And when there’s also no chemistry between the two, their relationship seems very odd.The film revolves around highschool girl Mia (Chloë Grace Moretz) who has a great love for the cello. On one snowy day she and her family got into a car accident which brings Mia in a coma. During the film Mia shows her life through flashbacks while in her coma. Those flashbacks are not all chronological so it might be sometimes hard to follow. Because of these flashbacks, it was like watching two films: One where Mia is comatose and tries to understand what’s happening to her and in the meantime tries to find her family as a ‘ghost’. The other one are the flashbacks. During these flashbacks we learn more about Mia: her love for the cello, Adam (Jamie Blackley) and other highschool problems. Some flashback puts an even bigger question mark on the question why Mia and Adam are a couple. We see the ups and down of their relationship, her friendship with Kim (Liana Liberato) and how Mia feels she’s different from her parents and brother. It’s not that every flashback should have gotten a descent intro or something, but sometimes I didn’t really quiet understand how we got here and why it’s relevant.
The scenes in the hospital are sometimes really emotional. Mia’s grandfather played by Stacy Keach – who I happen to love in Prison Break – had some really amazing performances and he’s the only person who brought tears to my eyes! Mia’s friend Kim, played by Liana Liberato, also did a great job during these emotional scenes, but she didn’t came to the same level as Keach. I think the story could have focused more on Mia being in the hospital and on the situation she was in. Being in an other dimension should be more explored by Mia herself and she should have looked differently, since she did was a sort of ghost…
Mia’s mother Kat (Mireille Enos) was with her attitude and nose piercing in my opinion better cast than the father, who was played by Joshua Leonard. The first time I saw him, he really made me think of a nerdy history teacher not someone who is a former rock musician. I know he changed to become a better father but he still could have a more edgy side. It looked like he had a complete identity change. Blackley as Adam really didn’t stand out to me as rocker dude who’s in a popular band. He just didn’t give me that vibe. In some pictures he may, but in general it wasn’t workng for me.
It’s always hard to make a film out of a book since so many readers have their own expectations and I think the film followed the book pretty well, a little too rushed sometimes though. But with my imagination things just seemed better, which brings me to the point that books are most of the times better than their film adaptation. However, the cello and classical music was something I didn’t had while reading and that was really beautiful! It’s also a but weird that the best performances came from a supporting role. The rest of the cast should have performed just a bit better. Nevertheless, it was a good film for the right audience!