Rating 2¾

Directed by Marc Forster

Written by David Benioff

Starring Ewan McGregor (Dr Sam Foster), Ryan Gosling (Henry Letham), Naomi Watts (Lila Culpepper), Elizabeth Reaser (Athena), Bob Hoskins (Dr Leon Patterson), B D Wong (Dr Ren), Kate Burton (Mrs Letham), Janeane Garofalo (Dr Beth Levy) and Michael Gaston (Sheriff Kennelly)

When his colleague Dr Beth Levy goes on sick leave Dr Sam Foster takes over the psychiatric treatment of Henry Letham, a college student. Henry tells Foster that he plans to commit suicide, even giving him a date and time, and seems to be able to foretell future events. Foster becomes increasingly obsessed by his enigmatic patient, but at the cost of cracks in his relationship with his girlfriend Lila Culpepper, who once attempted suicide herself. Then time begins to fragment as things real and things imagined start to blur.


Marc Forster is the German-Swiss director of ‘Monster’s Ball’ and more recently ‘Quantum of Solace’, the latest addition to the James Bond franchise. ‘Stay’, his 2005 follow-up to the multi-Academy Award-nominated ‘Finding Neverland’, received mixed and generally negative reviews. It has a 27% rotten rating at Rotten Tomatoes from 117 reviews and grossed just $8.3 million at the box office against a production budget estimated to have been as high as $50 million. Several reviewers criticised the film’s conclusion, commenting that it made everything that preceded it seem pointless. Some accused the film of being little more than a blatant rip-off of David Lynch, although he is certainly not the only obvious point of reference. Think a mixture of ‘Mulholland Drive’ and ‘Don’t Look Now’, with a sprinkling of ‘Donnie Darko’ on top, just for starters.

It is pretentious and it’s presented in a very calculated manner, which is certainly slickly done, although ultimately rather shallow. It put me in mind of several other films, without ever forging its own identity. Having said that, although the film never really built on its premise, I did quite enjoy it, if perhaps not enough to give too much thought to guessing where it was going or dwelling on it much afterwards.

In the end, the film is style over substance and it isn’t as clever as it probably would like us to think, but it obviously caught me at a moment when I was happy to go with that.

Review posted 5 December 2009


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