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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 William Goss

"The Surreal Strife"
1 stars

A so-called psychological thriller, 'Stay' is a pretentious waste of time and talent that would have done no harm collecting dust in a studio vault as opposed to teasing its audience with the prospect of an intriguing premise and solid cast. Solely thought-provoking in the sense of rationale and running time, 'Stay' should have done so.

Sam (Ewan McGregor) is a psychiatrist who has agreed to treat Henry (Ryan Gosling), an unstable patient who announces his intent to kill himself in three days. With the help of his girlfriend, Lila (Naomi Watts), he tries to prevent Henry’s suicide as his own grip on reality begins to unravel.

From the outset, the story meanders as Sam tries to find and stop Henry. Soon, Sam meets Henry’s allegedly deceased parents and experiences other strange circumstances that bring his sanity into question. The role of Lila, Sam’s girlfriend, fails to serve a real purpose, and a blind professor (Bob Hoskins) succumbs to the same fate. A weak climax on the Brooklyn Bridge leads to one of the more common cop-outs in recent cinema, a lame cheat which has been done to better effect in several other films and makes the preceding all the less worthwhile.

Director Marc Forster has little to offer, filming scenes in a most diagonal manner while finding any excuse to create a stylized transition between sterile shots, the surreal result of which quickly wears off. The entire cast is put to minimal use: McGregor and Watts get another chance to hone their American accents, while Gosling keeps up his tradition of flat roles with his typical angst and torment. Even Janeane Garofalo makes a brief, bizarre appearance as Henry’s former shrink, a performance that fails to do her (or anyone else) any favors.

The visuals are borderline nausea-inducing, from constant scene repetition to subliminal flashes, which become increasingly annoying in their attempt to depict a moody and sinister alternate reality. The film’s atmosphere aspires to be bleak, but is only successful in eliminating any hope for a tolerable cinematic experience. With a wasted cast and a plodding plot, the film is a genuinely unsatisfying effort at something resembling a psychological thriller and is probably more effective at provoking headaches than anything else. If viewers are nearly as smart as the movie presumes they are, they’ll know better than to Stay.

At the screening, on the next-to-last reel, people starting walking upside-down and talking backwards. It took a handful of critics several minutes to figure out that this wasn't an intentional technique. Enough said.

link directly to this review at
originally posted: 10/25/05 15:31:49
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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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