In this mind-bending psychological thriller, college student Henry Lethem (Ryan Gosling) plans to kill himself in three days, unless psychologist Sam Foster (Ewan McGregor) can save him. But after his first encounter with ... more »the disturbed young man, Sam finds he's losing his own grip on reality, as he, too, is thrust into a nightmarish place between life and death. With the help of his girlfriend (Naomi Watts), Sam races to unlock the dark secrets of Henry's tortured psyche in this suspenseful chiller that will keep you guessing right up to the shocking ending!« less
Rose H. from LOUISVILLE, KY Reviewed on 4/23/2012...
Loved this movie when I first saw it. Unfortunately, it one of the films that once you know the ending, it loses it mystique which is it's main selling point. Bought this so that I could lend it out to friends and spread the word.
3 of 4 member(s) found this review helpful.
Interesting but confusing film... Targeted at the wrong audi
dooby | 04/18/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Stay is an interesting film. Unfortunately it suffered from very poor and misleading marketing and ended up attracting the wrong audience. True to form, it received many poor reviews from infuriated viewers who were expecting something totally different. It is NOT a horror movie or a movie about the supernatural. Neither is it a thriller as such. Nonetheless it is interesting and well made. As a previous reviewer said, it may appeal to fans of the original "Twilight Zone". As another reviewer more acerbically put it, it will appeal most to the "Artsy-Fartsy" type. The film is deliberately confusing, requires concentration and would definitely benefit from a rewatching, if it hasn't totally turned off the viewer by the end.
The following paragraphs contain spoilers so don't read further if you want to see the movie with a fresh mindset. Just bear the above in mind.
The movie begins with a car crash which we are told nothing about. We are then shown the person from the car crash (Ryan Gosling) seeing a psychiarist (Ewan McGregor). We are not told if this is the future or the past. What follows is surreal, like a dream. The director in his accompanying commentary tells us how he wanted the film to have a "stream of consciousness" feel to it. So, disconnected scenes melt into each other seamlessly in typical dreamlike fashion. The man tells the psychiatrist he will kill himself in 3 days. The psychiatrist then goes on a wild hunt to find out more about his patient. We know from the start that something is not right with the narrative. Clues abound that the narrative is not real. There are also indications that the psychiatrist and his patient are one person. From about a third of the way through the movie, I came under the suspicion that this was all in the psychiatrist's mind. In a way I wish it had gone that route which had more interesting possibilities but the ending chosen was also quite acceptable. The film could easily go down several paths with valid and enjoyable solutions. The ending here puts it all down to a deathbed hallucination on the part of the man in the car crash, a la "Jacob's Ladder", with most of the characters in the movie simply the people who came to pull him out of the car wreck. It is a sad story because as we learn, he was about to propose to his girlfriend who together with his parents, die in the wreck with him. I loved the final dream sequence where he watches his fiancee waltzing in a ballroom while he stands alone outside in the rain. Inadvertently, her partner turns and walks away, leaving her all alone. Its significance comes only on rewatching the film. By the way, for those who were thoroughly confused or did not stay to the end, his fiancee is the girl Athena that the psychiatrist is frantically looking for and she is also the brunette with the child (presumably the son he will never have) that recurs throughout the film. He, Henry, is a college student and artist so naturally his hallucinations include him gaining fame as an artist because he died so "tragically young". The psychiatrist and his artist wife (Naomi Watts) are the doctor and nurse (unrelated) who attend to him at the accident. And the various voices that he hears throughout the film are the voices of the onlookers.
One sequence that was off-base for me was at the end where after the accident, Ewan McGregor's doctor is asking the nurse (Naomi Watts) out for a drink, when there is a flashback to them as husband and wife in Henry's hallucination. As Henry is already dead, the hallucinatory flashback is out of kilter with the logic of the film. Personally I thought it should have been excised. It felt too much like forcing onto the audience a happy ending - "and they lived happily ever after..." But alas, this is Hollywood.
DVD is probably the best way to experience this movie. With its dismal performance at the box office, let's hope it gets a second chance here. Fox has released this in a fine 2.35:1 transfer (Anamorphic) with well-rendered colors and excellent black levels. The 2.35:1 transfer is strangely put on the flipside of a double-sided disc with the "A" side holding a "Panned and Scanned" version. The Dolby 5.1 track sounds equally fine. There are two sets of scene-specific commentaries by director, cast and crew as opposed to a full-length commentary. There is also a 6 minute featurette "Departing Visions" about people who have had near death experiences. There is however no trailer. Neither is there the "Music of Stay" featurette that is mentioned on Amazon's website.
Definitely worth watching. You might not want to splurge on the cost of buying it but it certainly deserves at least a rental."
Misadvertised and Misunderstood
R. Weeda | USA | 01/28/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"It's true that this film sat on the shelf for a long time and did horribly at the box office. That can be bad news, but in this case, it simply means that no one knew how to market this film. It was advertised as a horror film, but is more of a Hitchcockian/arthouse film than anything.
This is not a film for everyone, but for those who enjoy films that make you think about the art of the film itself, not just about some supposedly profound 'message' being pushed, this is a great film. Roger Ebert has nailed this film on the head in his review.
A movie that requires a lot of thought
Erin | 03/21/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I, like a lot of people, found this movie to be amazing and extremely thought-provoking. The cinematography was very creative, and the acting was fantastic. I have to say, the dialogue was a little flat, but, other than that, it was one of the best movies that I saw last year. I blame its lack of success on both the horrible, almost non-existent marketing (which is strange for a movie with such a well-known cast), as well as a lot of people's apathy towards movies that require them to think and analyze. I suspect a lot of people who saw this told their friends that it was "bad" simply because they didn't get it. I will definitely be buying the DVD when it comes out on March 28."
A great, smart film
Laura | PA | 02/21/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This film was very much misadvertised. I remember seeing the trailer once or twice, but it was very close to the release date of the movie, so who knows how many people didn't get to see it. I didn't really see it advertised on tv or hear about the actors doing tv spots, etc to promote the film. Who knows what happened there, but due to that, this film flopped.
Not everyone will like it, but I certainly found it to be a great film. I figured out what was really going on eventually while watching this movie, but for a while, my friends and I couldn't figure it out. - which is why I found it to be a smart film.
The acting in the movie is almost perfect. I didn't find anything wrong with the acting and I am usually bothered easily by bad acting.
My favorite thing about the movie is probably the use of Ewan McGregor's character wearing the shorter pants. I found that humorous once I figured out what it was about.
To conclude, this very underrated film is worth a look if you have the time and the money. It's definitely one of the better movies of this year."
Michael Zuffa | Racine, WI United States | 10/28/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Psychiatrist Sam Foster (McGregor) is filling in for a co-worker when he meets Henry Letham (Gosling). Henry clearly has some problems, and when he tells Sam that he is going to kill himself in a few days on his 21st birthday, Sam decides to try to save him. As Sam begins to look into Henry's life, he finds the line between reality and illusion begin to blur.
"Stay" is all of that and none of that at the same time. Things are not what they seem, and it is interesting to watch things unfold. What could have been a huge twist at the end is instead diffused by scenes early on the let the audience in on what is happening. In fact, it is possible to know what is going on from the very beginning of the film. What makes the movie great is the journey they characters take on the way to the inevitable end.
Director Marc Forster does an amazing job of making all things tie together. If something in the movie seems odd, it is there for a reason, and if you pay close enough attantion, you will see what I mean. The acting is good as well, but is not what makes the movie so good. "Stay" is an entertaining and thought provoking film that I highly recommend."