Stay

"Excellent"

Stay Review


I don't see dead people, and, more than likely, I never will. Maybe one day, when I die, I'll see plenty of them but while I am of this earth, it's a no-go. This is not to say people don't see spirits, ghosts, and specters; walk down any street in Manhattan and you're likely to see a woman telling you she can see them and hold pretty strong conversation with them. Hollywood saw this and also saw dollar signs. Blame M. Night Shyamalan for most of this. He made a great movie and has spawned legions of gutter-sludge rip-offs. Once in awhile, however, we get an arty riff on this formula. The last one was Jonathan Glazer's haunting Birth, and now we have Marc Forster's hypnotic Stay.

So, this suicidal college student walks into a psychiatrist's office... no, seriously. Sam (Ewan McGregor) has the misfortune of substituting for a few sessions for a colleague (Janeane Garofalo) when she gets a little loopy with the drugs. Her first patient, and seemingly only patient, is Henry Letham (Ryan Gosling). On only their second meeting, Henry announces that he is going to kill himself in three days, at midnight. Sam spends the rest of his time, divided between his ex-patient/girlfriend (Naomi Watts) and trying to figure out why Henry wants to kill himself. And don't forget Henry's dead parents (Bob Hoskins and Kate Burton) who show up in the real world. Describing past that would be like trying to explain a Lynch film (notably Lost Highway and Mulholland Drive), and no one should have these secrets ruined.

The premise sounds melodramatic and short on ideas, and admittedly those were my first thoughts. But director Marc Forster, after the powerhouse Monster's Ball, last year's classy Finding Neverland, and Stay, is on a roll the likes of which we haven't seen in a long time, turning in three startlingly different films directed with the same deft attentiveness and nuanced understanding of character. Unlike Wes Anderson or David Gordon Green, Forster's style is much more subtle and underplayed, paying more attention to shadows, reflections and lights than pastels or jumpy narratives. He's the real thing, a class-A director.

Give special attention to the script, easily one of the year's best, by David Benioff. In a film that begs to be sappy, with dead parents and suicidal tendencies, Benioff finds the twists and turns of the mind much more interesting than the vocal sentiments. The dialogue is crisper than a brand-new dollar bill, giving the actors a lot to play with. McGregor has his juiciest role since Big Fish and plays it with expert resolve. Watch the emotional complexity that Naomi Watts brings to the troubled girlfriend who must watch the madness on the peripheral plain. However, it's Gosling who steals the show, looking charmingly uneasy, digging deep into Henry's fractured mind. Forster works wonders with the actors, keeping a film that is trippier than anything to come out so far this year, strangely grounded in the humanity of the situation. Films like this don't allow you to anticipate what's coming, deciding to instead sneak into your body and astound you with the widest range of emotions. You won't see it coming either.

But if you don't stay, try the door.



Stay

Facts and Figures

Run time: 99 mins

In Theaters: Friday 21st October 2005

Box Office USA: $3.3M

Budget: $50M

Distributed by: 20th Century Fox

Production compaines: Regency Enterprises, 20th Century Fox

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 4 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 27%
Fresh: 33 Rotten: 90

IMDB: 6.9 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Starring: as Sam Foster, as Henry Letham, as Lila Culpepper, as Mrs. Letham, as Athena, as Dr. Leon Patterson, as Dr. Beth Levy, as Boy's Mother, BD Wong as Bradley Ren, BD Wong as Dr. Bradley Ren, BD Wong as Dr. Bradley Ren, BD Wong as Dr. Bradley Ren, BD Wong as Dr. Bradley Ren, as Bookstore Owner, as Bookstore Owner, as Bookstore Owner, as Bookstore Owner

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Imperium Movie Review

Imperium Movie Review

First-time filmmaker Daniel Ragussis takes an unusual approach to this thriller. Since it's based on...

The Girl With All the Gifts Movie Review

The Girl With All the Gifts Movie Review

Like a 10-years-later follow-up to 28 Days Later, this small British thriller takes a refreshingly...

The Magnificent Seven Movie Review

The Magnificent Seven Movie Review

Director Antoine Fuqua brings his usual fascination with violence to this remake of the iconic...

Bridget Jones's Baby Movie Review

Bridget Jones's Baby Movie Review

As it's been 12 years since the last Bridget Jones movie, expectations aren't too high...

The Beatles: Eight Days a Week - The Touring Years Movie Review

The Beatles: Eight Days a Week - The Touring Years Movie Review

A-list director Ron Howard worked with the surviving Beatles to assemble this engaging documentary, which...

Blair Witch Movie Review

Blair Witch Movie Review

It's been 17 years since The Blair Witch Project shook up the cinema and created...

Anthropoid Movie Review

Anthropoid Movie Review

Outside the Czech Republic, few people know about Operation Anthropoid, a spy mission in 1943...

Advertisement
Kubo and the Two Strings Movie Review

Kubo and the Two Strings Movie Review

From Laika (The Boxtrolls), this is one of the most beautiful, sophisticated animated films in...

Captain Fantastic Movie Review

Captain Fantastic Movie Review

An offbeat comedy-drama with a timely kick, this charming family road trip takes on some...

Hell or High Water Movie Review

Hell or High Water Movie Review

Sicario screenwriter Taylor Sheridan delivers another fiercely intelligent, engaging story that maintains high suspense while...

The 9th Life of Louis Drax Movie Review

The 9th Life of Louis Drax Movie Review

With heavy overtones of Hitchcockian mystery and intrigue, this stylish thriller is the enjoyably melodramatic...

Kickboxer: Vengeance Movie Review

Kickboxer: Vengeance Movie Review

The 1989 Muay Thai action movie Kickboxer starred a young Jean-Claude Van Damme, who pops...

Julieta Movie Review

Julieta Movie Review

Iconic Spanish filmmaker Pedro Almodovar is back with another powerfully complex female-centred drama, along the...

Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping Movie Review

Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping Movie Review

An astute satire of the pop music business, this raucous mock-documentary is consistently hilarious from...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.