Last night, I watched ‘If I Stay’, the film staring Chloe Moretz, that is based on the book of the same name by Gayle Foreman. A few days before I watched the film, I read the book (a review of which will be coming up at some point in April – I am getting way ahead of myself with reviews at the moment). Today, I thought I would compare the two.
I’ve always found it interesting how books can be adapted for the screen, both big and small. More often than not, I have enjoyed the book more, for the sheer fact that it contains more details and storylines – there is only so much that can be put into a couple of hours of screen-time. In this case, I found it very difficult to decide which I preferred.
Let’s start with the book. I enjoyed the book, I read it from start to finish in a matter of hours and it was one of the few books where I felt myself tearing up. I thought the characters were well designed and the storyline was emotional, yet gripping. A few scenes in the book were just fantastically well written that I wanted to go back and read them again. That being said, there were moments that felt really distracting and wrong – they pulled me out of the story and just felt unrealistic.
The movie, on the other hand, did a really good job of keeping to the book – both in essence and story. I really loved watching it and hearing dialogue taken straight off the page. It also took out the scenes that felt wrong to me, and altered others to make their impact more felt on a visual basis. It focused more on the romance than the book did which, while it did work well, I kind of wish it hadn’t so much focused on boyfriend-love and focused more on music-love.
All in all, I really enjoyed both the book and the film. I will admit, I cried more in the film than the book, but I think that was because I knew what was coming. I thought the film was a lot tighter than the book, taking out unnecessary and odd scenes, but I felt the book to be more powerful as it focused on Mia’s life more than her romance and you could see things from her point of view more easily.
I will say, if you do decide to read/watch If I Stay, be prepared for the emotions that come with it. I would recommend reading the book first so that you know what to expect, but both tell a beautifully sad story that will leave you thinking.