Book VERSUS Movie!: If I Stay

I know… I just did one of these.  But I just watched a slew of movies yesterday.  It was hard and yet I felt accomplished because I was also folding origami for work.  Anyway, I really enjoyed If I Stay – the book.  So I was looking forward to this one… though with reservations of course… because movies that deal with topics like this one that were made from books… just don’t cross over well.  But I guess the movie did well enough.  It made over $78 million with its budget of $11 million (wiki pulled; though generally correct in scope… wiki is not the the final verdict for things).

If I Stay

I really liked this book and it’s a contemporary, which I don’t typically read.  The whole premise and the way the book was written in alternating flashbacks… it felt really personal.  The movie also used flashbacks to try and emulate that feeling and tried to drive character relations in little snippets… but what made the book so great was the personal turmoil Mia goes through and how it was revealed to readers.  Through each flashback we get to see relationships unfold and get to hear Mia’s thoughts about the situation.  The movie tries to do this with Mia voicing over certain scenes… but it just didn’t feel right… Not when compared to the book.

Book or Movie:   So based on what’s written so far… it’s might be pretty obvious.  Book for sure.  The subtly of the book just wasn’t relayed in the movie.  The relationship with her grandfather and Teddy seemed glossed over in the movie whereas the book, even though the page time was also short, the words and scenes depicted in the book were able to convey the ever-changing emotions that Mia felt.

I will say, the relationship between Mia and Adam, her boyfriend, were portrayed really well in the movie… along with the music, a motif in the book.  What the book did so well was slowly unveiling Mia’s relationship with each character who visits her in the hospital… the movie skipped this process which made the relationships of other characters less important and abrupt in the emotional response the whole situation was supposed to draw out of its viewers.

The movie wasn’t bad.  Don’t get me wrong.  But not as good as the book.  People are willing to sit and spend hours on a book but not on a movie.  If this movie was an hour longer I think all that’s missing could be added…. but then the movie would have been too long… and possibly even too boring.  What works on paper, don’t always work on film and vice versa.

The Book:

If I StayIf I Stay by Gayle Forman

Release Date:  January 1st, 2009

Synopsis:  Choices. Seventeen-year-old Mia is faced with some tough ones: Stay true to her first love—music—even if it means losing her boyfriend and leaving her family and friends behind?

Then one February morning Mia goes for a drive with her family, and in an instant, everything changes. Suddenly, all the choices are gone, except one. And it’s the only one that matters.

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