Stay

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Year: 2005

Writer: David Benioff

Director: Marc Forster

Budget: $50 million (estimated)

Domestic Gross: $3 626 883

Marc Forster is one of the most versatile directors around these days.  after Monsters Ball (which i didn't think was as great as the praise it received) put him on the map, he followed that up with the wonderful Finding Neverland (his best film to date).  then a couple years ago he gave us Stranger Than Fiction and right not he has the new film The Kite Runner coming out.  And then there is the film we are going to talk about today, Stay, which he did in between Finding Neverland and Stranger Than Fiction.

Stay is an interesting film for me to write about here, because it could have just as easily ended up on the 'filmed but could be forgotten' page.  and i can see where people have problems with it.  however, for me personally the problems seemed to bother me much less than as much as the film completely intrigued me.

the movie is about a psychiatrist (ewan mcgregor) who is trying to prevent a patient (ryan gosling) from committing suicide.  naomi watts plays megregor's girlfriend (herself, once the victim of a suicide attempt).

what makes this film so interesting is its play with reality.  what is real, what isn't, what is actually happening are all questions that the characters and us, the audience, ask ourselves throughout the film.  also, the style and technique of film making is really good.  it is overt and subtle at the same time.  some of the visuals and imagery is obvious, and yet there are little editing moves that are wonderfully subtle:  like when characters walk behind a pillar or wall and when they reappear are on opposite sides of each other.  little plays with our perception occur throughout the film and had me both confused and intrigued.

my problem with Stay, however, was the ending.  the film took me down this path of real and faux reality and although i wasn't sure i understood everything that was going on i was counting on a big finale payoff.  not that i wanted a nice clean/wrap-up ending, but at least something that would justify the time i had spent experiencing it.  well, it didn't.  the finale gave me something and did bring some things into perspective, but it didn't have the impact that the film had made me feel like was coming (if that makes any sense).

so then why am i writing about it here you ask?  well, like i said, the problems for me, in this case, didn't outwiegh the positive experience i had with this film. so the ending didn't live up to my expectations and it is a little conveluted, but something about this movie just had me engaged throughout by the story and, even more so, by the style of film making.  sometimes one little problem can easily ruin an otherwise really good movie for me, but in this case, a few bigish problems didn't have the same effect on my experience of Stay.

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