Movie Review: If I Stay

If I Stay

new-if-i-stay-movie-poster

Official U.S. Release Date: August 22nd, 2014

Rated:

Rated PG-13 for thematic elements and some sexual material

Directed By:

R.J. Cutler

Cast:

Chloe Grace Moretz, Jamie Blackley, Liana Liberato, Joshua Leonard, Jakob Davies, Mireille Enos

Find the rest on IMDB here.

IMDB Movie Synopsis:

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.

My Review:

The thing about contemporary novels is that a huge part of what they are is based on emotions. They don’t have the constant action that usually comes hand in hand with a science fiction, fantasy or dystopian novel. They literally have to carry the entire book with emotion, whether good or bad. If I Stay is perfect at doing that…and I had hoped so much that this emotional journey would carry over to the movie.

I was so please to find that it did.

First off, just a shout out in general for making a movie that actually is a good representative of the book. I had just recently reread the book a few days before seeing the movie so it was completely fresh in my mind and I loved recognizing so many scenes in the book. They really made sure to get all of them. Some were tweaked a bit but that was okay, because it made sense for the movie. But they really did a great job at adapting and I don’t often say that.

But what made me so incredibly happy is that I felt the same emotions when watching the movie as I did with reading the book. That book is an absolute emotional roller coaster. One minute, I’m laughing and the next, my heart is racing and I’m envious of the romance between Mia and Adam, and the next, I’m literally sobbing in the middle of the theater. All the characters in the movie felt so real, so genuine that it was so easy to connect with them and believe in their story.

If you’ve read the books, you know that the accident, the loss of her parents, even the loss of her brother, comes very fast and yet, you feel that pain. You connect with all of them so fast, and they accomplish that in the movie as well. But what is absolutely beautiful about it is that the flashbacks make you fall in love with the characters even more, so you’re torn between feeling the happiness at getting to know this extraordinary family and the gut wrenching sadness at the fact that they are already gone. The movie does that, and every flashback is so painful and you know why its so hard for her to stay. Every person who was cast, was cast so perfectly for the role. They played the perfect rocker parents, the little brother, the best friend, the boyfriend, they all did. It was incredible how much I believed every single one of them was that character.

But I think what really makes this movie stand out so much is the music. The music is something that we need to picture ourselves in the book, something that we have to imagine, but in the movie, the music is a character all on its own and I’m just so blown away by that. The music is there through all the emotions, the sadness, the joy, the love, family, friendship, loss, all of it, comes through in that. Music is magical that way and I think having the music that is so central in the book in the movie just makes it that much better. It captures the very essence of the film.

Rating:

5 out of 5 stars

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