Movie vs Book: If I Stay

Last year, we realized that we were picking up a lot of books because there was a movie adaptation coming out and  we’re the kind of girls who like to read the book before the movie. Since this was such a common thing, we’ve decided to start a Movie vs Book component to the blog.

ifistayashley | When I read If I Stay by Gayle foreman, I was so moved and inspired by it. I remember being in tears through the majority of the book, so torn reading about Mia’s difficult fate. I was kind of uncertain whether or not this strong feeling would translate to the screen, making this movie top of my list to see.

The Cast: I loved who they cast as Mia’s parents. Mireille Enos was so cool, Joshua Leonard (who I hadn’t seen before) was so charming. They made such a great pair, I loved all the scenes they were in and was glad that they kind of expanded the parental role in the movie to give these characters more room to shine.

I like Chloe Mortez as an actress but at the same time, I don’t like her acting. It doesn’t make sense to me either. Maybe I just don’t find it natural or genuine. She played the part perfectly well, but it seemed too much like she was playing a part.

The soundtrack: From classical to classic rock, the soundtrack just rocked. The music influence was heavy in the book and almost even heavier in the movie and I loved it. A Smashing Pumpkins jam around the campfire? I loved it a lot.

The Differences: The movie sticks pretty closely with the book, but for some reason, it seems to feel like a big mess compared to the text. I can’t quite put my finger on it, but I guess it didn’t seem to reach as deep as the book did, which is funny considering the book was pretty short and not overly deep.

The accident scene in the book was breathtaking, the way the radio lingered afterwards, the way Mia tried to understand what happened. It was actually kind of calm and dream-like. The movie didn’t do it justice, it seemed too panicky and aggressive, which may be realistic but it seemed better the other way.

The biggest difference that I really didn’t like was the tension they built between Adam and Mia. They had them fighting a lot, the distance of his touring band tearing them apart, Mia’s acceptance to Julliard making her a liar and being seen as a betrayal. These events all happened in the book and there was a lot of pain and hurt and rough patches but Adam was always very supportive of Mia even when it was hurtful that she might leave and even when they started to see their end in sight, there was more of a sadness to everything instead of anger and fighting and I don’t like that the movie turned them into a typical couple like that. In fact, they broke up in the movie and went their separate ways and I’m not sure the fully came to that end in the book. I didn’t think that was fair.

The Bad: There’s not a lot of chemistry between Adam and Mia. It’s not the actor’s fault; they just don’t seem to have a lot to work with. Things move so quick you don’t really see them grow together. You just see them stuck together. Their meeting in the book was also quick and random, but they seemed far more connected than what played out on screen. On screen you kind of question why he would ever be interested or attracted to someone so unlike him, but that is a bit more explored in the book.

Better than the book?: They definitely took a bit of creative liberty with the movie, which I understand you have to to make it work on screen. It didn’t ruin things, but it certainly took away a bit from the book. I remember feeling so hopeful and inspired reading the book, on the verge of crying the whole time and that just didn’t translate to the movie. It had some touching moments, most of which took place in the hospital with Mia’s family and friends, but the movie seemed to focus more on the past, the flash back sequences that told the story as opposed to the emotional hospital scenes and I think that is what took the touching and hopeful feeling away from the movie. I didn’t really care whether or not she stayed.