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Overall Rating

Awesome: 16.87%
Worth A Look: 16.87%
Average: 13.25%
Pretty Bad30.12%
Total Crap: 22.89%

7 reviews, 41 user ratings

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Stay (2005)
[] Buy posters from this movie
by Erik Childress

"…Just A Little Bit Shorter. But That Wouldn’t Help Either."
2 stars

Someday someone will truly explore the concept of déjà vu as it relates to the movies. Writers like to toy around with it on a psychological or metaphysical nature but often someone forgot to tell them that we’ve been there and done that. Ever pinpoint where a film is going to end up after only fifteen minutes? How ‘bout just after watching the trailer? Stay is very much like that and would be half as less annoying if the culprits behind it actually took a time out to explore the state of being they have engulfed its characters in. Because at the root of Stay is a very sad story with great potential, but what’s pulsating through its veins is a double-assed Twilight Zone that somehow manages to tell it from the wrong point of view.

The film opens with an unexplained car crash. Hint #1. A young man named Henry Letham (Ryan Gosling) sits beside the burning car on the middle of the Brooklyn Bridge while all traffic stands still behind him. Hint #2. He visits psychiatrist Sam Foster (Ewan McGregor) subbing for his normal doctor out from exhaustion (Janeane Garofalo in a truly odd role) and tells him of his plans to kill himself on his 21st birthday, just a few days away. Sam has some experience with suicide, having saved his patient and current girlfriend, Lila (Naomi Watts) from a wrist incident and wants to offer Henry the same fate. That’s when things start getting weird for the doc.

He begins seeing weird connections between himself and his patient; Lila even calls him Henry at one point. He carries around a similar engagement ring to the one Henry was going to propose with until it was too late. Henry claims that Sam’s blind colleague (Bob Hoskins) is his dead father. Sam starts visualizing the same moments over and over again and having conversations with people that others claim have passed on some time ago. And round and round does the merry go.

Sitting there examining Stay you may think Naomi Watts has jumped from one David Lynchian nightmare (Mulholland Drive) to another (Lost Highway), but the more Stay whisks us from reality – it still tries to tell us that we’re in it. The variations on that reality I can’t go into without spoiling what is an obvious revelation anyway (even the damn tagline of the film gives it away.) But who does it give it away for? Other than being intrinsically boring rather than intriguing, Stay completely cheats by following a protagonist who has absolutely zero to do with the subconscious fantasy land we’re witnessing. It’s like following around Danny Aiello’s character in Jacob’s Ladder. You can’t filter one person’s reality into another’s and then pretend like the discoveries made have anything to do with altering the actual experience one character is going through, no matter how many dots you can connect during the final scene.

Momentarily intrigued by Marc Forster’s attempt to make us swim inside Crazy Head Syndrome, I was praying he wouldn’t get lost in his own techniques trying to flaunt the mystery for something greater than it is. Truth be told, there is something greater about the mystery, but writer David Benioff spends not a shred of dialogue on exploring the thin line between life and death, not to mention guilt, forgiveness and healing. What seem like metaphors within the film will probably be explained to little effect on the DVD commentary, but while it does dispose of POV clarity – the audience can certainly make our own transition into Henry’s head, wishing that it will all end very soon.

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originally posted: 10/21/05 14:41:24
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User Comments

7/01/11 iamhenry McGregor's pants were short because that's what happens when you crouch near a dying man 4 stars
10/23/09 darren Look at the film in reverse and it might make sense. It was a big Jacobs Ladder rip off 4 stars
12/15/08 g made no sense, especially the end 2 stars
12/05/08 Shaun Wallner This movie was stupid! 2 stars
4/14/08 Matt One of the best movies I've ever seen. And this critic has no idea what it's about. 5 stars
2/13/08 escapegoat Does anyone get that it's from the point of view of Henry? 5 stars
8/29/07 truth ok to watch once - but some shit just doesnt make any sense which ruins it for me until 3 stars
8/21/07 Matt This goes straight to the top of the "what the fuck was all that about" dungheap 1 stars
8/17/07 Joe Thomas Throughly confusing, but equally compelling. You really need to enjoy films to like this. 4 stars
8/10/07 Kim if u dnt like it, u dnt think wit luke928 5 stars
6/18/07 Anna WTF? It had such a weird ending..but i still loved it because of the twists.. 5 stars
5/12/07 Max WTF it was all like Mumbo JImbo 3 stars
3/30/07 fools♫gold Just a bunch of camera tricks; I may be overrating (I think), but it's not TOO bad. 3 stars
2/11/07 Luke928 wow you shouldn't even be a critic, you completely missed the point of this movie 5 stars
10/17/06 Andy G. It's all B.S! Everything is not real! I ddin't even write this comment! 2 stars
10/16/06 Kim I thought it was beautiful 5 stars
10/01/06 High Voltage just how many dumb people there are 5 stars
9/25/06 karen macarthur very confusing, tho amazing! 5 stars
8/02/06 manda Great Film 5 stars
6/30/06 Ash This movie was really confusing, I expected better.. 3 stars
6/27/06 jessica WTF 2 stars
6/26/06 Tiffaney This movie is obviously was not made for those who lack the mental capacity to understand a 4 stars
5/30/06 Jeff Great camera shots and angles - story is not worth sitting through. 2 stars
5/15/06 Max This movie is just VERY poorly done, cheesy and not very well connected. 1 stars
4/14/06 ket A really interesting movie. 4 stars
1/30/06 Betsy S I thought it was terrible from beginning to end. Sterile environment and monotone acting. 1 stars
11/18/05 Candy Smith Bad and confusing movie 2 stars
11/02/05 Roy Smith The book is better. And there is no book. 1 stars
10/28/05 Michael Well worth a second viewing. 5 stars
10/27/05 Jimbo I wish someone would explain the plot to me - very confusing movie 4 stars
10/27/05 stella visually stunning and thoughful, a film with depth. naomi stands out from the cast. 5 stars
10/27/05 steandric a great film for the thinking viewers. naomi watts is impressive. 5 stars
10/26/05 jcjs humdinger, clever, visual / editing delight, wow acting, scenery, fun, engaging all the way 5 stars
10/26/05 PAG Interesting unusual story. Arty and pretentious, but sometimes that is good. 4 stars
10/25/05 Kathy Great filming, architecture, camera angle,lost story,made no sense 3 stars
10/25/05 DEEDeeDEEe STAY? (Away) 1 stars
10/24/05 Jenn Why can't anyone seem to figure out why Sam's pants were short??? So simple!!! 4 stars
10/23/05 Douglas MacDonald This is the worst piece of tripe ever produced: self-absorbed and ridiculous. LSD req'd. 1 stars
10/23/05 TMoe Interesting photographey, but a twisted plot without any clarity for the audience to grasp. 2 stars
10/22/05 pattonjr5 though no md, watts & the others can make you think...but only if you want to 5 stars
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  21-Oct-2005 (R)
  DVD: 28-Mar-2006



Directed by
  Marc Forster

Written by
  David Benioff

  Ewan McGregor
  Naomi Watts
  Ryan Gosling
  Janeane Garofalo
  Bob Hoskins
  Kate Burton

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