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324 out of 416 people found the following review useful:

A brilliant film about a young man near death

9/10
Author: Melissa_1982 from United States
23 October 2005

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

It's hard to comment on this film without including a spoiler, but I feel it is necessary to try because of all of the unwarranted bad reviews this film is receiving. If you go into it expecting to see a rendition of The 6th Sense, you might be disappointed. If you go into it expecting to see a logical plot with a chronological story behind it and an honest portrayal of developed characters, you will be disappointed and very confused.

However, if you go see this film with an open mind and simply EXPERIENCE what it has to offer, you will be rewarded greatly at the end - assuming, of course, that you understand what you have just seen, at least to some degree. For the best experience, pay attention to the little details, but don't try to figure anything out until the end. See it with someone so that you can discuss it afterward. It's that good.

This movie is visually appealing and artistically constructed - pleasing to both the eye AND to the mind.

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294 out of 403 people found the following review useful:

A top notch Lynch-y psychological thriller

9/10
Author: evilmatt-3 from Woodland Hills, CA
22 October 2005

This is really a spectacular film. I know I'm going to have to see it at least once more, because there's so much stuff going on that it's impossible to give Stay the attention in deserves in one viewing.

First and foremost, although I won't give away the plot here, I'll say that the movie (thankfully) does not rely on a surprise ending for the totality of its impact. In fact, if you're paying attention, you can pretty much figure out (mostly) what the situation is before you get too far into the movie. Unlike some of the worst examples of this genre (i.e. The Sixth Sense), Stay is not a film that "hides the ball," but instead presents you with characters and a storyline, and asks you to draw your own conclusions.

That said, there isn't an obvious solution to the movie. While you may be able to explain the film after viewing it (which is trickier that it will seem at first), you may realize that the real brilliance of this film is in the levels of its narrative. At its core, it is a basic psychological thriller. Simultaneously, and perhaps subconsciously, it also meditates on weighty issues of reality and identity- consider what the imperative "Stay" means to different characters at different points in the film, and it's almost like you're watching an entirely different movie than you originally thought.

Finally, the visuals in this movie provide their own context and narrative regarding the fragile nature of human memory and perception. This is the best looking movie I've seen in a long time, and the fact that it's combined with such a great story and cast makes this a rare treat.

If there is a weak link here, it's probably Gosling, who I think missed some opportunities to really dig in with his character and creep us out. Still his acting is better than that of most of Hollywood's garbage these days.

Final verdict: if you want a smart and unsettling film that will spur a serious discussion, watch this. You won't be disappointed.

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153 out of 181 people found the following review useful:

the most underrated movie of 2005

9/10
Author: Barshki from United States
8 April 2006

Have you heard of Stay? If you're here you must have but I'll bet it wasn't too long ago that you found out about it. It's a movie that came out late last year with little fanfare, was dismissed as a poor movie by critics and quickly ushered back out of theaters.

It's a crying shame.

It was a wonderful movie. My favorite type of movies are psychological horror movies. Favorites include: Jacob's Ladder, Mulholland Dr., Donnie Darko, and in a similar realm, Momento and Fight Club. I love seeing a good representation of the human mind on film and that is exactly what this film shows so well.

It's about a college student (Ryan Gosling) who tells his shrink (Ewan McGregor) that he is going to kill himself on the stroke of midnight this Saturday, leaving his shrink to enlist the help of his formerly suicidal girlfriend (Naomi Watts) to figure out why he wants to kill himself and how to stop him, while his world falls apart.

It's directed by Marc Forster of Monster's Ball and Finding Neverland fame. The movie has been called pretentious, shallow, ridiculous, bewildering, absurd, and empty by many reviewers. Personally I think that they didn't have the patience for it and/or were put off by its extravagant visuals and cuts. I thought it was great and deserves much more credit than it has received.

The movie's visual style is very interesting and jarring in a good way. It had me constantly saying to my girlfriend "did you see that?" Full of slight of the hand camera/editing tricks. Nearly everything in the movie is symbolic of other things or ideas in the movie. The acting is very good, especially among the lesser characters. Everything in the movie feels so unreal, but that is serves some purpose even if one couldn't know what it is right away. A second viewing would reveal many new things. In the end much of the movie is left up to interpretation and my girlfriend and I had a good conversation about our ideas on what things meant in the movie. After thinking about it for a day I'm pretty sure that I could explain everything in the movie, even what the hell is up with Ewan McGregor's pants, Why Gosling wanted to commit suicide and the twins and triplets.

It was fun was figuring out what the rest of the movie meant after seeing its end, the solution. The movie is like a code and the end is the decryption key. It differs from other "sixth sense" type surprise ending movies because everything you would see in the movie before the end would not act as a clue to what it all means or what the ending is. It's more like decrypting a diary than a problem with a solution to it.

Basically, any movie buff owes it to themselves to see this movie. I rented it but after seeing it I fully intend to purchase the DVD.

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269 out of 446 people found the following review useful:

A New Kind of Film

10/10
Author: chihhsing@aol.com from Los Angeles, CA
14 February 2005

It is a truism that film, as a photographic medium, intrinsically resists the psychological. In the hands of a less gifted director, this would have been equally true of STAY, despite its overt plot in which a professor of psychiatry struggles to find a psychological clue in order to prevent a young artist from committing suicide at a precise time and location the artist has planned.

But without altering this plot as written, director Marc Forster has invented an editing style (combined with a rigorous control of transitions and point of view) to create nothing less than a parallel plot to the film, in which the professor must contend with the horror of his own descent into full-blown psychosis.

Since the director conveys this parallel plot entirely through visual means, and within the point of view of the hero of the story, its consequences are all the more disconcerting, and we feel the terror of the realization of losing one's mind more acutely than in any previous screen depiction of madness I have seen.

Much as the young artist's psychotic identity implicitly consumes the identity of his psychiatrist, so does the visual plot consume the overt, written plot of the film, like an unconscious motivation that overcomes a conscious one. By succeeding with such an ambitious design, Forster has invented a new kind of film in which the psychological, in all its frightening depths, finally becomes visible.

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124 out of 175 people found the following review useful:

More about the journey than the destination

8/10
Author: DennisH from Redwood City, CA
22 October 2005

It would be cruel to reveal anything about the story before seeing this film because most of the enjoyment is learning which path the story will choose.

The film has masterful visual style. At times it appears to be a normal picture until the surreal aspects make themselves known with subtlety. The editing is seamless, almost but not quite confusing, and the callbacks to earlier scenes are never overused.

It is not a spoiler to state that early on Something Isn't Quite Right, and there are story elements that the avid moviegoer will know to be central to the conclusion. However, it's the path that leads to the end that makes the time enjoyable.

Naomi Watts, as usual, is perfect, and Ewan McGregor has again picked one of the scripts that was for the art and not the money. Ryan Gosling is effective, and Jeanine Garafolo's three minutes were eerie. I'm certain that Elizabeth Reaser will be seen again.

Not a perfect movie, but definitely worth the time if you enjoy surrealistic stories.

8/10

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78 out of 100 people found the following review useful:

A different point of view

8/10
Author: joely2112 from Australia
17 November 2005

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

There is such a debate about this movie, on side arguing that you can "get it" if you are intelligent enough and the other arguing there is nothing to "get." Why don't you all stop worrying about whether or not you get it or not. Movies are art, and art is open to different interpretations. There is no right or wrong, and to steal a quote that I loved, (I can't remember exactly "Bad Art is even better because it documents human failure") sorry that quote wasn't really necessary and didn't fit my point exactly but I was just dying to use it.

Anyway my main interpretation of the movie is to show the intricacies of the human brain. A man went through a serious shock/trauma, going unconscious, allowing his subconscious to come out and play, the movie demonstrates the power of the subconscious, pulling out stored tidbits of information from the brain received by the human senses. The movie documents not the man's physical struggle to stay alive but his mental one. With his brain setting up a maze of obstacles to get past to regain consciousness/life. In this maze of his mind I think his actual self represents death or the coming of death, and he is in the form of the psychologist (mcgregor) trying to work his way through the maze to fight to stay alive. I think this is why we saw the movie makes such a point of showing us that they are the same person (in his mind) I think he has chosen mcgreggor as his self because in his subconscious he knows that in the real life mcgreggor is trying to save him. As for the powers, it is his mind of course he is able to control what is happening. Leaving one end untangled, the de ja vu with mcgregor and watts at the end. To go with the flow of this interpretation, that the movie is demonstrating the power of the human mind, perhaps subconsciously the mans dream was able to affect the other people involved, through psychic powers, I'm not sure on this, this is a tough cookie.

Of course another interpretation of this movie could possibly be two parrelel worlds colliding through an event (car crash) I don't know for sure I can only make my own interpretations, and I like this movie because of the different ways it can be interpreted, unlike most Hollywood movies, which leave no room for the imagination. This is art, good art: 8/10

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89 out of 122 people found the following review useful:

Wonderfully executed masterpiece

Author: Gordon-11 from Earth
20 May 2006

I saw this in the cinema solely because I had nothing else to do and that Ewan McGregor was in it. I had no idea what it was about. I am so glad that I watched it, because this film left me thinking for ages.

This is a thriller about a psychiatrist (which I happen to be one) trying to help a depressed & suicidal patient. The film twists unexpectedly all the time without getting bizarre. The visual effects are stunning, and the soundtrack created the eerie atmosphere which gave me creeps. The best thing about this film is that the film keeps you in suspense throughout the film, without the use of sudden loud noises, gore or scary scenes. Everything in the film seemed so every day life (to me anyway) and yet it keeps you on the edge all the time. The interspersed scenes of unrelated objects creates suspense in a way that is surreal. In the ending, I was totally surprised at that happened. I had to really think a lot to figure out what happened. Usually, when I don't understand a film, I say it is bad bad bad, but for this film, it leaves me wanting to find out more about it.

I strongly recommend anyone to watch this film!

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83 out of 117 people found the following review useful:

Brilliant! Once again, another example of box office revenue meaning nothing

10/10
Author: nickdove from California
16 August 2006

As stated in the subject, this film is pure brilliance! The story is not completely original, it draws small inspirations from such films as "Identity", "Fight Club", "12 Monkeys" and even a little "Sixth Sense". But don't let that deter you if you did not care for those films! "Stay" is pure, cinematic genius from beginning to end.

Marc Forster is probably one of the greatest up-and-coming directors of our time. What he's done with this film will make any cinephile drool with delight. There are so many innovative camera techniques that your eyes experience a sensory overload of pure genius. One of these trademarks is a technique where he transitions from one setting to another while still making you think you're in the previous scene for a few seconds. For example, in a scene where we see Ewen McGregor's character in a shop, the camera then switches views to the glass door of the shop, which we see another important character looking through it. The door opens and the character walks through, at which point we realize he was going through a subway door in a totally different scene. Forster uses this technique, as well as many other amazing tricks, throughout, and it's no less brilliant every time we see it them.

As I said, the plot will remind you of a few other movies, yet the actual twisted ending, and the avenue which Forster and the writers take us there, is so completely different and interesting that this film simply must be seen.

McGregor did a fantastic job as psychiatrist Sam Foster, and Gosling was unbelievably realistic and convincing as the mentally unstable patient. Of special note is Bob Hoskin's almost cameo role as Foster's friend Leon. His character is so sympathetic and believable that it almost made me cry.

As usual with such films as last years "The Jacket", this movie was marketed as some supernatural horror film, but it's by no means a horror film. In fact I went into this movie dreading all the jump scenes and disturbing, weirdness that would make me run from my car to my front door at night, but really this is a straight up thriller in the vein of "12 Monkeys" and "Sixth Sense" (minus the ghostly appearances and dead people).

If you consider yourself someone who is tired of Hollywood's big-budget, slam-bang drivel and want to actually have your brain scrambling with thoughts throughout an entire film, RUN, do not walk, and see this film.

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69 out of 90 people found the following review useful:

An underrated, clever film of 2005

8/10
Author: rab62442 from Pennsylvania
21 February 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

For the few people that saw this film, it seems that people either love it or hate it, but that's the case with a lot of films these days. I thought the film was brilliant just because of how well thought out it was and it keeps you guessing till the end. Some movie goers aren't patient enough for a film like that.

A lot of the hits, at least in the states, lately are movies that don't require much thinking at all. They're just films that are entertainment and action alone.

Here's a brief explanation of the movie, if you don't want to know what happens, skip this paragraph. Henry Letham (Ryan Gosling) is driving a car with his girlfriend and family in it on some bridge (I forget which one it is) in the NYC area. An accident occurs and we see Henry between life and death while the other three people in the car have already died. The movie is then about what Henry is seeing as he's about to die. In the real world, Ewan Mcgregor's character Sam, and Lila (Naomi Watts) are helping him out until the paramedics can come and help. The movie we see is Henry's made up world containing Sam and Lila, where Sam is just helping a suicidal Henry and Lila is Sam's girlfriend. Other people he remembers seeing from the accident make short appearances in his made up world. Thus, the film is relatively confusing to some people, and I'm sure I haven't explained it as well as I could.

In the end, I say go rent this movie when it's avail

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87 out of 126 people found the following review useful:

A Mixed Pot of Stew

8/10
Author: gradyharp from United States
29 March 2006

STAY is a strange bird of a movie, one that you must be rested and in the mood for to watch, and one that asks that you forget the usual linear storyline and stay alert every minute. Directed by Marc Forster (Monster Ball, Finding Neverland, and the upcoming The Kite Runner) and based on a story and screenplay by David Benioff (Troy, The 25th Hour, and the upcoming The Kite Runner!), STAY is more a mind-bending visual excursion that explores some dark psychological questions dealing with life, death, suicide, occult, and a mélange of all of these.

The opening of the film is a twisted visual experience that has to do with a car crashing on a bridge, fire, and a body - all given during the opening credits. We then meet psychiatrist Dr. Sam Foster (Ewan McGregor) as he encounters a college student patient Henry Lethem (Ryan Gosling) whom he is seeing for his colleague, the emotionally exhausted Dr. Beth Levy (Janeane Garofalo). Hesitant to work with a 'substitute psychiatrist' Henry eventually tells Sam he is planning to commit suicide that Saturday at midnight, a re-enactment of his painter idol's absurd life. Sam's artist girlfriend Lila (Naomi Watts) was herself a suicide attempt rescued by Sam and offers her help in dealing with Sam's patient. Sam also gleans advice from his mentor, the blind Dr Patterson (Bob Hoskins) and after numerous attempts to contact his associate Beth for information, Sam strikes out on his own in an attempt to understand Henry before he destroys himself. He looks up Henry's mother (Kate Burton) whom Henry says is dead, discovers when Henry meets Dr Patterson that Henry claims Patterson is his father and is also dead. Ultimately Sam engages the services of a mental institution run by Dr Ren (BD Wong) and gains the promise that the institution will put a hold on Henry so that he will be unable to commit suicide.

In the midst of this race Sam's world begins to crumble, people don't make sense, stories clash, and Sam tumbles around in a state closely resembling madness until the final frames when the entire situation of the film is made clear. Nothing is as it appears when dealing with the thread that separates life and death. The script is clumsy, the camera work is distractingly of kilter, little gimmicks are used to the extreme, and the tiny roles of supporting characters hardly merit the gifted actors such as Hoskins, Burton, and Garofalo. Ryan Gosling is again tossed into a role that is starchy and unidimensional and despite his fine work his character remains aloof. McGregor and Watts do the best they can with the script but end up becoming tropes wandering in from other similar stories.

So why give the film 8/10 score? Because despite all the defects it does engage the mind and forces the viewer to set aside the general principles of understanding and just release the mind to a crazy ride. That is healthy film making and deserves attention. Grady Harp

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