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artisanal film reviews | by maryann johanson

Stay (review)

Ah, this is one of those movies that starts off intriguing and tricksy, gets bogged down after a while with its own inventiveness — so that you sorta squirm your way through the middle of the film, afraid that the film’s gonna end up all hat and no cattle — and redeems itself so tremendously in the end that the final five minutes more than make up for any doubts you might have had along the way. A university shrink (Ewan McGregor: The Island) finds himself increasingly haunted by his new patient, an art student (a fabulous Ryan Gosling: Murder by Numbers), who’s hearing voices and acting strangely and then threatens to do himself a harm at, weirdly, a particular appointed time, “like it was a date,” the doc notes to his painter girlfriend (Naomi Watts: The Ring Two); their relationship is also haunted, by a trauma in the past and a fear of looming abandonment. The shrink spirals into something like madness, and director Marc Forster (Finding Neverland) creates for him an increasingly nightmarish world of colors simultaneously flat and garish, of strangely repeating events, of places and times that shift like liquid, or people who aren’t there… or are they? There are no clichés, in the end, only a profound sense of the desperate human need to cling to life and love.


MPAA: rated R for language and some disturbing images

viewed at a private screening with an audience of critics

official site | IMDb
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