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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

borrow ideas from The I Inside (2003), but not as good as.

6/10
Author: mags-21 from China
19 March 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Overall quality of this film is good, if I had never saw The I Inside (2003) before, I would have rated it 9/10.

This film borrow ideas from The I Inside (2003), they both deal with illusion when someone suffers death, when the brain try to make a reasonable conclusion of what happened by mixing the information picked from reality, previous experience, emotions and wishes.

From my point of view the plot of Stay is not as gripping as The I Inside, the later one do a better job keeping you trying to figure out what on earth happened by keep the brain-made world convincing till the second half of the film. Stay just introduced turbulence of the fake world at the very start, which may be an approach to giving the audiences sufficient time to guess and understand the real situation, but fails to interest astute audience like me.

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3 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Prepare yourself for a slow-paced film....

6/10
Author: muddychikk from United States
8 April 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

If you are planning to watch "Stay" be prepared for a very slow, twisted film. I believe that the movie honestly had potential, but overall attempted, without success, to be complex. The directing/filming techniques seemed very similar to Crash. I liked the film's image techniques, but the director tried too hard to be unique. At times, one may find it difficult to concentrate on what is happening during a scene. One may find that they are paying close attention to the camera angle instead of focusing on the actual story. However, if you are distracted from the story you really are not missing much. The basic story is as follows:

The movie begins with Henry (Gosling's character) entering the office of his psychiatrist. He is disappointed to find that his regular psychiatrist is out "sick" and finds a temporary replacement in her place (Sam). Sam becomes infatuated with Henry when on the day that they meet Henry somehow predicts a hail storm that actually occurs the very same day. The story continues (extremely slowly) with Henry revealing to Sam that he has plotted suicide to occur on his 21st birthday. He also reveals that he has killed his parents and cannot live with himself for that reason. In the sidelines, another story carries on about Sam and his girlfriend, Lila (Naomi Watts). It becomes known at some point during the film that Lila had attempted suicide, this being the reason for Sam meeting her. We also discover that Henry liked a waitress named Athena. How Athena ties into the mix comes in at the end. Her presence in the bulk of the movie was quite minimal and one never really knows much about her. Though the plot may seem interesting thus far, that is about as "complex" as it gets for a long while.

Now for the ending. Later on in the film, we discover that Henry has an infatuation with an artist that killed himself on the Brooklyn Bridge, on his 21st birthday, considering it a work of art. Henry plans to do the same thing, in the same location. Sam rushes out, trying to save his life but Henry tells Sam that it is simply too late to change his decision. In the end, the camera men do a terrific job at filming a car accident. This car accident happened in the exact spot where Henry killed himself. In turns out that Henry was driving the car that killed his parents and his girlfriend. (This explains why he told Sam that he killed his parents.) Henry dies on the bridge while Lila, the nurse, and Sam, a doctor, try to save his life.

Apparently, "Stay" for the most part was Henry's vision while he lay dying on the bridge. However, it was very hard to make that assumption based on the lack of information in the film. I came to the conclusion that the movie was based upon Henry's out of body experience before death by watching a section of the Special Features, and the details still lack an explanation.

Yes, "Stay" makes one think, but so did "Fight Club." The only difference between them is that "Stay" is composed of small details that cannot be evaluated.

My advice is as follows: Rent the movie. By all means, do not buy it. After you watch it, be sure to watch a little of the special features to make a better understanding of the film. I know that people have various opinions on things, and I have read some reviews that called people who dislike this movie "dimwitted." Well, for those of you who did like it, I will say this: I am glad that you were able to enjoy it. By no means am I saying "DO NOT WATCH THIS FILM!" and nor am I saying that it was great. I am telling you to watch it yourself and form your own opinion of it.

As for me, I thought it was compelling but remains without any explanation of minor details that I feel should have been in some way explained. The point of the movie was that the people who near death often experience things that cannot be explained. That is probably why the minor details were not explained, but unfortunately I observe this "point" with a lack of interest.

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4 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

Occurrence at East River Bridge

4/10
Author: Robert J. Maxwell (rmax304823@yahoo.com) from Deming, New Mexico, USA
6 December 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

In Ambrose Bierce's story, "The Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge," a man with a noose around his neck is pushed off the bridge for execution. The rope breaks and the man escapes. He laboriously makes his way home before feeling a great pain in his neck and dying. The whole thing was a dream between his stepping off the bridge and his reaching the end of his rope.

That, basically, is the story here except that instead of an execution we have a multi-car accident on the Brooklyn Bridge. "Basically," that is, the story lines are similar -- but man are the "executions" different! Bierce's story was a straightforward fantasy. But what razzle-dazzle in this film. Note the splendidly arty effects. Whew. Enough to knock your socks off! No wonder the list of f/x contributors and consultants and CGI Meisters is twice as long as the cast.

I'd like to be able to say I really got a kick out of it because, obviously, a great deal of work went into its construction, but I frankly found it nerve wracking.

Dreams, the sex ones aside, tend to be irritating, puzzling, and scary. And this film is all of those things. On top of that, although all dreams that I'm aware of assume a first-person point of view, this one is a dream seen from someone ELSE'S point of view. In other words the dying man sees himself in his dream through someone else's eyes.

A patient (Gosling) reveals to his psychiatrist (McGregor) that he's going to kill himself in 24 hours. The rest of the film has McGregor dashing around all day and all night, trying to help him, in a way my psychiatrist never did! (What is his bill going to look like?) To ensure our confusion shots are repeated numerous time, sometimes in sequences lasting a second or two. Explosions and sparks. The threat of gun play. A blind man miraculously cured who doesn't seem the least bit curious about how it was done. Somebody's parents who may or may not have been murdered and may or may not be alive. Cameras turn upside down. Actions speed up. The cables of the magnificent Brooklyn Bridge turn into spider webs. Strange characters come and go, uttering non sequiturs. It rains a lot. McGregor's girl friend (Watts) is solicitous but can she be trusted? (Trusted to do what, you ask? I don't know.) After all, she took two razor blades into the bathtub with her in case, after she cut her wrists, she became weak and dropped one of them. We don't get to see her in the bathtub, though, alas.

That double razor blade thing was pretty bizarre, but then almost everyone in this movie is hostile or frankly daft as the doctor goes about trying to do good. And the doc seems nuttier than a fruitcake himself.

At the end, as Gosling lies dying or dead on the pavement, surrounded by wrecked cars and concerned onlookers, we see among the faces most of the important characters that the doctor has run into during his search. Here's the face of the manager of the book store. And there's his aid. And a Chinese cop. And a black guy who was reading Hamlet. All strangers to one another. (There are multiple allusions to Hamlet, though their relevance escaped me.)

The movie cheats, actually. Dreams don't flash and spin. They're often ominous but often sluggish and boring too. And you can't READ anything in a dream because, who knows, your cortical bombardment is selective.

Another thing about dreams is that they're supposed to STOP when you wake up (or die), whereas the team here simply can't give up its tricks even after poor Gosling has passed. The camera seems to twirl about whimsically and the hell with anybody's point of view.

I didn't even truly care about Goslin's being killed, although I wish he hadn't. I didn't get to KNOW him well enough to be thoroughly bonded with his character. I was happy, though, that he went out the way he did. As the red blood cells in his brain yield the last of their oxygen, his head is being held by passerby Naomi Watts who is leaning over him, holding his temples, almost in tears, begging him, "Look at me! Look at me!" Okay, I'm looking.

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5 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

David Lynch could not be proud of this

5/10
Author: GutGeboren from Berlin, Germany
29 August 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

There is a comment on this film, that compares it to Divid Lynch's work. I don't agree. The first and fatal difference between both is the clean screenplay. David Lynch has the ability to get into the deep and dirty areas of the characters mind, where the human's censorship doesn't influence the pictures which the audience record. "Stay" stays a video clip from M-TV for the whole feature long. It is the same visual problem as in "The Island", it doesn't carry a feeling, although the actors look likable to me. But that isn't enough to show an abyss. The psychological 101 isn't enough. Who is dump enough to trust a film that morphs like a Pepsi advertising? This isn't just a question of the visual trend style, it's about involving the intellectual audience. Filmmakers don't need to be a genius to reach that, but at first they have to be honest. Then perhaps they find a way of storytelling that doesn't try to overwhelm you. I don't want to fight against the film, I want to move in.

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5 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

boring

6/10
Author: antoniotierno from Italy
9 March 2006

I continuously fell asleep while watching this movie. The actors performances are superb (on the other hand Naomi Watts and Ewan McGregor are a guarantee of success) but the viewer is supposed all the time to figure out what's happening. It's an experimental film putting the audience to the test all the time, a puzzle much more then a thriller motion picture. The plot (a shrink trying to prevent his patient from committing suicide) is not standard but not even unconventional, the setting, as well as the special effects, make the situations cryptic and weird. The problem is that many times things need to be deciphered.

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7 out of 12 people found the following review useful:

Could Have Been Remarkable

6/10
Author: finding-something from United States
18 April 2006

While the direction is flawless, the art direction unparalleled, and despite Ewan McGregor providing another breathtaking and engrossing animation of character, the film is, unfortunately, fundamentally flawed. It's story is lazy.

Images will stay in your mind for months afterward. The wall of books, Sam's too short pant legs, the staircase that seems to have been built on its side, the film is nothing short of a breakthrough visually. It never really cuts, it's absolutely seamless from scene to scene. The special effects are truly special. The movie is absolute eye candy, and shot totally unconventionally, breaking the 180 degree rule almost constantly to brilliant affect.

First, how the story works. The way the narrative unfolds, the story itself becomes a kind of character, and a very good one at that. Sam is a wealthy psychiatrist, seemingly beginning to break down, prone to bending the rules of the trade, while Henry, a patient, is undeniably a mess mentally. As a result, we see the events through the eyes of, well we're not sure. Probably one of these two characters. This is the gimmick-going-for-genius-but-fails of the film, the audience is only ever as sure of anything as either of the main characters seem to be. We plunge with them down to the depths of their ever increasing madness. We accompany them on their journey, trying to make sense of an utterly senseless world.

Now, how it doesn't work. The twist is just not tight enough. If you're going to write a story where ultimately nothing happens, then the twist better be brilliant, I mean perfect. Here it is not. While it is interesting and complicated and even good, it pales in comparison to the other components of the film. It fails at any psychological or philosophical profundity, and fails as a rewarding narrative. The story alone, I'd only give 3 stars. So, while I'm unsure just how this movie ever got made based on its story, I am glad that it was. A true treat for the eyes and the imagination.

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7 out of 12 people found the following review useful:

Lame, pale, boring psycho thriller/horror

2/10
Author: simplius
2 April 2006

Tedious, uninteresting pablum that was supposed to be mind-blowing, but fails miserably. After 10 minutes you notice there's something wrong with the rhythm of the directing; after 20 minutes you start both yawning and wondering what are the odds to blow it completely if you have a decent crew and a potentially good plot. The end of the movie is supposed to be explanation of the plot and the end of the suffering for the main character - but no, it is the end of the Chinese torture toward the watcher executed by an amateurish director.

And all of this is written by someone who has 'Jacob's Ladder' in his top ten list of movie masterpieces...

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49 out of 96 people found the following review useful:

Finally A "Studio" Film Worth Going To See (again and again)

10/10
Author: (tory@torychristopher.com) from United States
24 October 2005

I am almost always sorely disappointed in larger budget "studio" type films. Cliché. Predictable. Sophomoric. Independent character driven pieces are much more to my liking. "Stay" has, at least temporarily, redeemed my faith in "studio" type ventures. I wasn't a big fan of "Monster's Ball" (sorry) and admit I have not seen "Finding Neverland", but director Marc Forster is a film making God in my book for this work of art. There are no twists or surprises or "tricks" in "Stay", so long as you understand what you are seeing. Herein lies the catch. If you understand what you are experiencing, and from what perspective, you will find "Stay" to be an amazing and truly real journey. For me, the trailers did not in any way prepare me for the kind of film I was about to see, which surpassed all of my expectations. After seeing the film for the second time, I paid close attention to eves-dropping on the conversations of the audience as we were leaving the theater. I heard what I thought I would hear. Comments such as "What was that?", "I don't get it." and "I don't understand what I just saw." Then there were the friends (in my corner) trying to explain to their movie going companions, mostly in vain, what the film was about. Whether it makes me a complete weirdo or a higher evolved spirit, I don't know, but I believe I "got it" completely and loved it absolutely. If you don't "get it", then any and all explanations are probably useless. If you do "get it", then I'm sure you'll want to go back and see it again! This was, in my opinion, film directing and story telling at it's finest. Add to that very solid performances by Ewan McGregor and Naomi Watts and the fact that Ryan Gosling may be the most interesting and engrossing actor of our time, and you have a film worth all of your attention as well as the price of admission and even the cost of parking! Kudos! Count me in as a "Stay" freak!

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Brilliant!

10/10
Author: Vania Viola Wu from Indonesia
10 June 2016

This movie is so underrated, it is a really really brilliant movie! It's really sad that not a lot of people know this movie, I myself just watched it a week ago. It's super confusing, the plot is unbelievable, I just love it! All the actors did a really good job, I really couldn't understand what was going on in this movie, I was trying to figure it out but everything didn't make any sense to me, so I couldn't find an answer. Even after the last scene, I was still trying to understand the movie.And I couldn't. And this is why I said this movie is brilliant, you have to watch it twice or pay a really good attention during the movie to understand it completely. I googled the movie plot after I watched it because TBH I was still confused. And when I found out, I was so surprised and I just thought this movie is really a masterpiece.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Stay is an artistic masterpiece

10/10
Author: Arcaeus from Canberra, Australia
13 July 2015

I just watched Stay again and had to change my rating from a 7 to a 10. I had seen Stay many years ago and it had always stuck with me. Probably because after watching it again I know why.

Stay presents itself as a masterpiece of art and it does not disappoint. With so much happening it's a little hard to keep up. What it does though is draw you in. A quote from the movie about art states, 'We are drawn to the brightest parts.' After closely analyzing each scene I noticed that there are bright colours all around, subtly drawing us into the movie.

Stay is a deep, calculating movie that hits you hard and makes you question your sanity and whether or not the world around us is just an illusion. The film references abstract artists, Shakespeare, and Psychology all throughout which fits well with the abstract camera angles, acting, and thought processes it evokes while watching. With the camera looking at characters on the other side of glass and also reflecting characters in mirrors and other objects, it sends the subconscious mind thinking about whether we are watching the real world like that through our own eyes.

With allusions to previous scenes you won't realise at first, double entendres, artistic scenery, camera angles, and subconscious messages, Stay is a visual masterpiece unlike any other film and no other film will ever come close. If you haven't seen it already, watch it.

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