Reviewed by

Christopher Armstead

Form over function.  Substance over style.  These are a couple of phrases that we could use to describe the new DVD release of 20th Century Fox’s Stay.  A very competent psychological thriller in the 6th sense vein, that may sacrifice some of it’s story telling for the sake of fancy imagery. 


One has to be careful in reviewing these particular brands of films because so much of the payoff is woven into the revealing twists at the end, so please forgive me for being a little sketchy with the details.  Ewan McGregor plays Dr. Sam Foster, a psychiatrist who is treating Henry Letham, played by Ryan Gossling.  Henry is a gaunt, pale, disturbed college artist who has informed Dr. Foster that he plans to kill himself in four days.  This is disturbing to Dr. Foster not only because he doesn’t want the young man to die, but because his girlfriend, Lila (Naomi Watts) is a suicide survivor.  It is vaguely hinted that Lila was Dr. Foster’s patient at one time as well.


Henry has apparently done something horrible, which has placed him in a state endless despair.  As Dr. Foster races against the clock to discover Henry’s perceived transgressions and prevent his planned suicide, very strange things begin to happen causing him to question his own sanity.   What is real, what is imaginary, and where is the line drawn between the two. 

Despite a bit of a slow start I found Stay oddly entertaining.  And really that’s the bottom line of any movie you see, did you like or didn’t you?  Directed by Mark Forster, who also helmed Finding Neverland, definitely has a flair for creating stunning

imagery.  Stay also combines it’s unique imagery with some very slick editing, a lot of which seemed to be because the filmmakers could, not because it was necessary.  A lot of the dialog also skims along the borderline of pretension and would probably appeal more to uptown New Yorkers than to middle Ohio Red Staters. 


Ultimately, if you choose to watch this film, or if you have already seen it, once the ending wraps everything up relatively neatly, the question I have, and what I suspect you may have to is ‘what does it all mean?’  And for that, this may require a second viewing as the fancy editing cues may come more into focus, and the pretentious dialog may have a clearer meaning upon a second viewing.  On a first run though, Stay is an intriguing, somewhat confusing strangely unsettling, but ultimately a satisfying work of film art.


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