Stay Movie Poster Image

Stay

(i)

 

Complex movie with mature themes -- not for kids.
  • Review Date: December 14, 2006
  • Rated: R
  • Genre: Drama
  • Release Year: 2005
  • Running Time: 98 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages
Not applicable
Violence

Harrowing car wreck (seen from different angles, a coupe of times), suicide attempt with a gun.

Sex

A brief scene in a strip bar, references to a sexual relationship between two romantic leads ("Take your clothes off"), but no explicit images; one character tries to seduce/kiss a colleague, but he tells her no.

Language

Several f-words, "damn," "hell."

Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Drinking, smoking, discussion of "meds" for depression and other mental illness.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this movie deals with difficult issues (loss, suicide, depression) in unusual ways (fractured imagery, nonlinear narrative, morphing characters). Younger viewers may be mystified by the movie's resistance to making standard sense. It begins with a car crash, the camera spinning violently to suggest the perspective of an obviously traumatized rider in the car. The film also features some harrowing, nightmare-like imagery, including spiral staircases, "doubles" of people, and repeated scenes that make time and space seem disjointed. Two characters appear with head wounds that bleed profusely, a dog attacks someone's arm, a young woman is restrained by doctors, and several characters refer to suicide; one character discusses her attempt with razor blades and shows her scars, and another puts a gun in his mouth and shoots, whereupon the shot cuts away without showing the blast, but cuts back to show his bloody head on the pavement. An art history lecture features disturbing paintings by Goya (soldiers and bloodied bodies). One character falls down the stairs and hits his head, hard. Some women appear in tight clothes, a brief visit to a strip bar includes pole dancers, mostly in the background. Characters use profanity, smoke cigarettes, and drink liquor, usually in despair or in an effort to self-medicate.

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Kids say

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What's the story?

A terrible car wreck on the Brooklyn Bridge leaves a vehicle in flames and young Henry (Ryan Gosling) stunned. Dr. Sam Foster (Ewan McGregor) awakens from what might be a bad dream, emerging into his own day. He rides his bike to work, a facility where he's subbing for another shrink, Beth (Janeane Garfolo). Sam's first patient is Henry, whose troubles elude naming -- except for his curt assertion that he means to kill himself on the coming Saturday night, at midnight. It's a threat and a promise, and Sam takes it seriously. Sam's life is soon entangled in Henry's. They slip in and out of one another's existences and spaces, on trains they ride run past one another, and stairways they descend turn into Moebius strips or endless, echoing spirals.

Is it any good?

QUALITY

Often evocative, sometimes audacious, and finally undone by an inelegant close, STAY is more like an art installation piece than a film. Though somewhat too fond of the morphing transitions and built atop a hoary concept -- a moment of death unpeels into multiple layers of experience, memory, and projection -- it does achieve an eerie reorganization of space (in particular, lower Manhattan), as well as a sometimes shrewd, sometimes nutty investigation of time, as a matter of faith, convenience, and construction.

Director Marc Forster is working from a script by David Benioff. Stay's obsession with loss seems of a piece with both their previous interests (Forster's Finding Neverland, Benioff's novel/screenplay for 25th Hour). 25th Hour remembered 9/11 by imagining a strangely nostalgic future; this movie also evokes 9/11 in its images of a broken New York, and is at once more hopeful and less believable. Its final images are so unlike what's come before that they feel tacked on, a resolution from nowhere that is, at last, unconvincing and daunting.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about suicide, as at least two characters attempt it. How do Henry's memories and dreams, and Sam's efforts to understand them, play tricks on the characters, and by extension, the audience? How does the movie represent loss and grieving?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:October 21, 2005
DVD release date:March 28, 2006
Cast:Ewan McGregor, Naomi Watts, Ryan Gosling
Director:Marc Forster
Studio:Twentieth Century Fox
Genre:Drama
Run time:98 minutes
MPAA rating:R
MPAA explanation:language and some disturbing images

This review of Stay was written by

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Quality

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Teen, 13 years old Written bydoctapeppa April 9, 2008

One of the Greatest Films Ever Concieved By Man

This film is awesome. I turned of the TV feeling somewhat elightened. I reccomend this to every body I know but their are a few censorship problems. There is some violence and language but an person who is mature enough to understand the content is fine with the movie. Sur,e there is an EXTREME twist ending that might take away the emotion from the film, but it still is a worthwhile watch for the family.
Teen, 16 years old Written byVexxation April 9, 2008

one of the best movies i have ever seen

i think that this is a really good movie and okay for like 14+. theres no outward violence, or sex or drug use. theres threats, but thats as far as it goes. i dont remember any language, even if there was there was very little. i think if you like this movie and get it you should also see the matrix.
Adult Written byfiona April 9, 2008

This movie jusr didn't work for me,

Ewan McGregor is poorly cast in this movie. More attention seems to have been put in to his dorky wardrobe than creating a believable character. I just could not suspend my disbelief and see him as a psychiatrist. Ditto for Naomi Watts; she is just too good looking in the part of artist/art teacher. Much over-wrought acting from McGregor - and very little substance. The movie is trying to make a visual impact via repetative use of imagery, mirrors especially, elements overlapping from one scene to the next, but I don't think this was to good effect. Includes totally superfluous strip bar scene - although the women are clad (somewhat...). How many movies to we need to watch with the ubiquitous strip bar scene? What a cliche. This movie spins a tale that is just not believable to me and is poorly told. It just didn't work.

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