Book Talk is a new feature where I talk about book-ish things that aren’t book reviews!
Today’s discussion is about If I Stay, which I saw yesterday in theaters yesterday.
Here’s the non-spoilery part of my review: I think fans of the book will like If I Stay. For those who haven’t read If I Stay- you will like this movie if you like books/movies that deal with similar topics…but if that’s not your thing, you may or may not like this movie, so maybe read some reviews of the movie before making up your mind.
Now, onto the part where I spoil the movie- so if you don’t want movie spoilers, stop here! (Or skip down to where I talk about the soundtrack- there’s a note there saying that spoilers are done).
So, I liked If I Stay a lot! It’s weird, because I thought it was a great adaptation, but as a movie…not so much. I mean, I still liked it, but it’s one of those books that seems hard to translate to the big screen. With all of the flashbacks, and the amount of time you spend in Mia’s head…I wasn’t sure how well it would work in a movie, which is so very visual.
There was a lot of voice-over narration by Mia, which wasn’t annoying. At least to me, but other people may be annoyed with it. And, as you’d expect, there are changes made to the movie. Like, the name of Adam’s band is Willamette Stone, and not Shooting Star, like it is in the book. And the distraction used to get Adam into the ICU is different- those are the only two major changes, but there are a few minor ones throughout the movie. And of course, not all of Mia’s flashbacks made it into the movie. Which I didn’t mind, because that would be a lot of flashbacks. And I get why quite a few of them are so focused on Adam and her relationship with them, but I do wish that some of the flashbacks were more focused on her family.
Still, I get the idea of focusing on why she should stay, even when she has so many reasons to go. And the flashbacks really stood out, because you really do see how much her life is going to change if she stays, and what she’s no longer going to have if she stays.
And the music! The music was awesome, and I loved that we got to see Willamette Stone play! And I loved that we saw Mia play the cello- which actually makes me curious those scenes. Like, did they get shots of Chloe Grace Moretz holding the cello, and then have someone actually play the cello, and then do whatever it is they needed to do to make it look like Moretz was playing the cello? Because I kind of feel like that’s what was done…although, if she really could play the cello like that, I’d be really impressed (but I also think we would have heard about that). Still, whoever is playing the cello did a great job.
Overall, I felt like the movie stayed pretty true to the heart of the book, and one thing that really surprised me was the ending of the movie. So, the movie ends with Mia waking up, and choosing to stay- just like it happened in the book. I really was expecting there to be another scene after that, but I was also glad that the movie ended the way it did in the book, because anything else would have felt so inauthentic.
I will say that lead to one of my favorite moments, because the screen goes white as she’s deciding, and everyone was waiting to see what would happen, and then she woke up, and then the screen went to black, and everyone was just kind of sitting there…and when the credits started rolling, you could hear someone say “No!” And then we all laughed…and the mood definitely shifted after that, because you could hear all kinds of sniffling going on in the movie, so it was good to have that moment. Which isn’t all the surprising, really. Oh! There were quite a few funny moments throughout the movie, which was actually really nice, because it balanced the overall seriousness really well.
Now that I’m done talking about the movie…I thought I’d talk about the soundtrack to the movie, because with a movie-centric movie, I can’t leave it out!
The soundtrack is great, I wholeheartedly recommend the soundtrack. Movie soundtracks aren’t something I’m typically drawn to, but I knew I had to check out this soundtrack in particular, because I knew the songs would be awesome, and I’m glad I wasn’t wrong. You can’t go wrong with any of them, and the ones by Willamette Stone (Adam’s band) are particularly great. But I thought I’d share a few of the songs that really stood out to me as great choices.
1- Promises by Ben Howard. This song gets me so emotional every time I listen to it, and it’s such a good choice for the soundtrack.
2- Halo by Ane Brun and Linnea Olsson. It’s a great cover of Halo- and at first, I didn’t even realize that it was Halo, but I couldn’t figure out why it seemed so familiar. I also love that it’s accoustic, because it fits Mia and her cello so well.
3- Heal by Tom Odell. It’s such a beautiful song, and it’s perfect for both book and movie.
Hope everyone has a happy week!