Welcome to Thursday Trailer Face-Off, a feature in which we cast a critical eye on two similar upcoming film releases, pitting them against each other across a variety of categories to determine which is most deserving of your two hours. This week: The Fault in Our Stars vs. If I Stay, two star-crossed love stories on every tween girl’s watchlist (and perhaps on ours too).
PremiseBetter grab a box of tissues, because this week we are comparing two teenage tearjerkers. Both The Fault in Our Stars and If I Stay feature the classic, tumultuous teenage love saga, but with their own added twists. In The Fault in Our Stars, Hazel (played by Shailene Woodley) is a young adult dealing with all the typical coming-of-age difficulties, including a pesky side note—terminal thyroid cancer. Despite Hazel’s face being perpetually covered by an oxygen mask, a fellow cancer patient, Augustus Waters (played by the budding heartthrob, Ansel Elgort), falls madly in love with her. The two give their tireless love affair everything they’ve got, even though, as Hazel puts it, “I’m a walking grenade.” As for If I Stay, 17-year-old Mia Hall (played by Chloë Grace Moretz) is an aspiring classical cellist who falls for Adam (Jamie Blackley), a grungy indie-rock sweetheart. The two set aside their musical differences and form an unconventional yet adorable couple. But then, Mia and her family suffer a terrible car crash, leaving her in a coma and her parents dead. Mia teeters on the brink of life and death while her soul spectrally wanders and watches her love weep by her body’s bedside. It’s a tough call between these two modern-day Shakespearean tragedies, but the supernatural component of If I Stay is a hackneyed trope these days and a little bit of a yawn.Advantage: The Fault in Our Stars
CastIn If I Stay, the young Chloë Grace Moretz appears much more grown up than her previous roles. She was cute, tough, and relentless as “Hit-Girl” in Kick Ass. But now, that spunky young girl is beginning her transformation into a beautiful woman. Moretz’s counterpart, the UK’s own Jamie Blackley, is hunky, but just in a kinda-sorta way. As for The Fault in Our Stars, it is no secret that Shailene Woodley has been on a hot streak. Divergent premiered with a splash earlier this year and before that, Woodley co-starred in the misfit romance hit, The Spectacular Now. Along with Woodley, The Fault in Our Stars flaunts the dashing newcomer, Ansel Elgort.Advantage: The Fault in Our Stars
Based on the NovelBoth of the films up for debate were adapted from top-selling young adult novels, which were published within the last five years. Gayle Forman wrote If I Stay (2009) came after a career writing about youth-centric social concerns for magazines like Glamour, Jane, and Cosmo. If I Stay is only Forman’s second novel, but it garnered heaps of praise from the literary community. The Fault in Our Stars, which was written by John Green in 2012, also received generous acclaim—it landed Green on the New York Times bestseller list. However, Forman’s experience writing for the glossy magazine bibles of young women awards her a little more clout, especially for this specific genre of literature.Advantage: If I Stay
Been There, Done ThatIn the world of young adult fiction, stories are recast and recycled constantly. The formulas stay the same but the director, cast, and setting are tweaked year in and year out. If I Stay closely resembles 2009’s The Lovely Bones with its life, death, and in-between situations. As for The Fault in Our Stars, the connection here is none other than 2002’s seminal heart-wrencher, A Walk to Remember. While neither of these previous incarnations were Grammy material, the corniness of Mandy Moore’s prudish character in A Walk to Remember was just cringe-worthy.Advantage: If I Stay
Sob StoryCancer or car crash? Take your pick. Both are unfortunate; both are morbid; both suck. But they make for a great love story. If I Stay showcases Adam’s undying commitment to his girlfriend who appears to be, well, dying. It’s romantic and beautiful that the indie guitarist doesn’t just move on to the next girl he sees wearing a Belle and Sebastian t-shirt. But on the other hand, The Fault in Our Stars is just too darn cute. Augustus realizes that Hazel may die in the very near future, but he infinitely loves her nonetheless. Augustus is an amputee, Hazel constantly lugs her oxygen tank around—they are the cutest couple of terminally ill lovers on the block. Advantage: The Fault in Our Stars
The VerdictNo matter which film you pick—if you’re a teenage boy, you’re in luck. Teenage girls are going to need a comforting shoulder to cry on while watching these despairing summer love stories. But for real, if we had to choose, the standout between these two would have to be The Fault in Our Stars. If I Stay‘s heartbreaking and supernatural plotline seems captivating but it just can’t touch the charmingly tragic cancer-ridden couple of The Fault in Our Stars.Winner: The Fault in Our Stars
Trailer Face-Off runs every Thursday. For more, click here.