Thursday, August 21, 2014

If I Stay

I had the opportunity, thanks to my book club, to go to a screening of "If I Stay" in Tyson's Corner.  (And thanks to the Silver Line for making that a more likely possibility.)  Now, I've mentioned before that I loved the book, and I wasn't really sure how they would do a movie, but I was totally willing to see, and once I saw the trailer I was so in. 
The story is about Mia who is in a car with her parents and brother that gets into an accident.  She is in a coma, and separate from her body, is able to walk through the hospital, seeing and hearing her visitors.  Woven throughout are her memories of before, of growing up, learning the cello, meeting Adam, hanging out with her friend Kim, and her family.
As with any movie adaption there are changes, most of the changes seemed to me about time, which is to say that there's a subplot or two that's different, but ultimately the changes were not egregious and were in service to time.  The movie felt like the book to me, and I also felt like they did a wonderful job of demonstrating the closeness of Mia's family, how Adam and Kim fit into that, and the tension of the choice of leaving behind the people left, versus going on. 
I also want to applaud the music direction.  Adam and Mia bond over their shared appreciation for music.  I saw an interview where Chloe Grace Moretz said she had trained on the cello for several months to get an idea, but that since Mia has been playing since she was a child, they did do some movie magic to put the hands of a more experienced cellist on screen in places.  I say this, not because I found it distracting or even noticed, but because the cello playing seem as expert as it needed to be to me, so I had wondered. 
Adam is in an up and coming band, and they did a really interesting job, both from a set design perspective and a sound perspective where the smaller venue felt, looked, and sounded a little smaller, a little like the sound equipment was a little older, and things changed as the band's prospects changes.
The acting was great, all across the board, but a special shout out to Aisha Hinds as Nurse Ramirez, a small but crucial role.  (Oh Nurse Ramirez.)