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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 brianorndorf

"Nothing to stick around for"
2 stars

A tedious psychological thriller, “Stay” is a film centered on how well director Marc Forster can transition between scenes rather than providing anything of interest. Deliberately cloudy with intentions and story, and asking the tiresome Ryan Gosling to brood in yet another film, “Stay” is forgettable cinema, and a lousy follow-up to Forster’s charming “Finding Neverland.”

When psychiatrist Sam Foster (Ewan McGregor) meets patient Henry Latham (“The Broodinator 3000” himself, Ryan Gosling), he finds a young man ready to kill himself, haunted by voices and uncertainty. As Sam looks deeper into Henry’s past to comprehend his extreme problems, he begins to uncover inaccuracies and mental turmoil that Henry cannot explain. With the support of his depressive girlfriend (a wasted Naomi Watts), Sam looks high and low for clues to help Henry, yet finds his own sanity tested severely as he gets closer to the truth.

Shot two years ago, “Stay” feels like long forgotten remnant of the twist ending genre that has only now just started to release its grip on cinemas.

After taking a creative spring break with his sentimental “Finding Neverland,” director Marc Forster heads back to the dark side of the subconscious with “Stay.” A carefully thought out thriller, “Stay” is antiseptic cinema that flashes in front of your eyes, yet doesn’t contain any filmmaking elements that penetrate the senses. The film is Forster’s visual marathon, which he runs with enthusiasm, staging an endless spectacle of slick transitions and glossy shots. It feels, though, that Forster is only making this film for himself. “Stay” as a psychological thriller is immensely tepid, leaning on known genre elements (paranoia, unexplained weirdness) to get by, never cracking the door open for the audience to get caught up in the mystery, which should be the first priority for a film of this nature.

Frustratingly, the screenplay by David Benioff is deliberately obscure, placing random, useless clues along the way, purposefully mucking with coherency in an effort to keep the audience from guessing the ending. Sam’s discoveries only lead to more questions, and the line between crazy and sane is never drawn. The film commits right away to Sam’s delusions, letting the air right out of the mystery angle the film holds dear. “Stay” hands over a lot of filmmaking minutia to sort through, but no reason to bother taking on the homework.

To get to the climax, Forster and Benioff spend a lot of time arranging their characters in ways that suggest a bigger resolution than what actually comes. “Stay” is dramatically frigid (emotion would only deepen the suspense), so the lengthy, twisty story can be a drag, especially when the film’s over, and the viewer has to contemplate just how much Forster worked to get to his ending, and it still doesn’t resonate. Unfortunately, “Stay” has the aura of a straight-to-video thriller blessed with a well-known cast.

There are no surprises to get excited about, and Forster’s stylistic choices tend to push the film into tedium instead of constructing an exceptional journey into dreamlike confusion and imagined fate.

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originally posted: 10/21/05 14:37:59
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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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