It’s always a bit strange to me when a novel I loved gets turned into a movie. I’m sure it is a bit odd for all of us bookish people. For the most part, movie adaptations just never fully live up to our expectations. Something is always left out that we felt was essential to the story and it is all the more disappointing when we realize that the film makers didn’t feel the same way about those crucial scenes as we did. The rarest things of all though, in the page to screen scenario, is for the reader to love the film more than the book and in this instance I am that reader who loved the film more than the book, which is the first time in my life that this has happened to me. I mean, even when I went to see TFiOS I was missing small things that were either altered or left out altogether, but the overall production was exactly what I had hoped for. However, the film adaptation for TFiOS, while excellent, was not better than the beautiful novel, but this time the film left Gayle Forman’s pages in the shadows for me.
I saw “If I Stay” on Saturday night and during the entire film I was completely sucked in, I even cried which I did not do once while reading the book. (Read review here) In all honesty, I was fully prepared to make mental notes of every little thing in the film that annoyed me or was left out…I was anticipating some eye rolls and snickers, but none of that happened. Instead I just sat in my chair, holding onto a napkin for dear life because my tears began early and I needed to wipe them often so as not to miss a single moment of the film.
From the casting to the way the story was laid out, highlighting Mia’s flashbacks of key moments in her history with Adam and her family, it did the story immense justice. In fact, I felt even more connected to them all seeing the story come to life like that, which I mentioned briefly in my review of the novel. By being able to put faces to the characters my second time reading it, they became real to me and made me care about them. Chloë Grace Moretz as Mia was already a win for me because I adore her as an actress but the other cast members were perfection also, especially Jamie Blackley as Adam, who had me at hello. He was sexy and adorable, her parents were bad ass with their own mushy-cuteness too, her little brother Teddy fit like a glove, and her grandpa made me wish that I could adopt him as my own. The story took on this new life that made the pain hurt more and the joy shine brighter, it was a wonderful thing to watch and I am so glad that I not only gave the book a second chance, but that I got my butt to the theater to see the film. It gave me some good laughs but even more tears and I urge everyone to go see it.