Critics Consensus

A muddled brain-teaser, Stay has a solid cast and innovative visuals but little beneath the surface.



Total Count: 124


Audience Score

User Ratings: 73,098
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Movie Info

Marc Forster's psychological thriller Stay stars Ewan McGregor as Sam Foster, a psychologist who begins to feel his grip on reality slipping away because of one of his patients. Ryan Gosling plays Henry Letham, a patient who has been offering disturbing predictions that have come true. When he claims that Henry will kill himself in three days, the psychiatrist sets off on a journey to help him. Written by David Benioff, the film co-stars Naomi Watts.

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Ewan McGregor
as Sam Foster
Ryan Gosling
as Henry Letham
Naomi Watts
as Lila Culpepper
Kate Burton
as Mrs. Letham
Bob Hoskins
as Dr. Leon Patterson
Janeane Garofalo
as Dr. Beth Levy
B.D. Wong
as Dr. Ren
Jessica Hecht
as Boy's Mother
Michael Gaston
as Sheriff Kennelly
Mark Margolis
as Business Man
Mary Testa
as Waitress
Gregory Mitchell
as Dance Instructor
John Tormey
as Piano Mover #1
John Dominici
as Boy/Young Henry
Sterling K. Brown
as Frederick/Devon
Jose Ramon Rosario
as Piano Mover #2
Becky Ann Baker
as Paramedic #1
Lisa Kron
as Paramedic #2
Michael Devine
as Security Guard
Jolly Abraham
as Young Woman
Angela Pietropinto
as Waitress #2
Oni Faida Lampley
as Waitress #3
Jarleth Conroy
as English Man
Noah Bean
as Student Guide
G.A. Aguilar
as Bicyclist
Vito Violante
as Officer #2
Douglas Crosby
as Psych Ward Paramedic #1
Blaise Corrigan
as Psych Ward Paramedic #2
Hank Eulau
as Noodle Man
Mam Smith
as Dancer #1
John Selya
as Dancer
Tom Titone
as Dancer
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News & Interviews for Stay

Critic Reviews for Stay

All Critics (124) | Top Critics (37) | Fresh (33) | Rotten (91)

  • A head-scratching thriller...

    Sep 6, 2006 | Rating: 2/5 | Full Review…
  • Stay is interesting, but it's hard to recommend to anyone but the small cadre of David Lynch devotees who will inhale anything with a whiff of similarity to their favorite auteur's scent.

    Oct 29, 2005 | Rating: 2.5/4 | Full Review…
  • In Marc Forster's humorless thriller, going insane is an exciting, luxurious affair.

    Oct 27, 2005 | Full Review…
  • This is the kind of flop that makes even the popcorn taste lousy.

    Oct 26, 2005 | Full Review…

    Rex Reed

    Top Critic
  • There's a lot of talent at work here from the cast to the screenwriter to the director and the visuals, but it's all so arbitrary and cheap and the payoff is so, so lame.

    Oct 24, 2005
  • S lot of talent gets expended in Stay. (I'm not including whoever dressed McGregor.) Too bad the movie they made, while effective in short spurts, is almost a complete waste of time.

    Oct 21, 2005

Audience Reviews for Stay

  • Oct 08, 2015
    Stay probably does not deserve as much of a rating as I give it, and I actually agree with many points made by those that give it a low rating; it is lacking in plot, suspense, tension. But if you love trippy movies with visual flair and you find normal movies boring, then Stay is a must-see. It has things in it you probably have not seen anywhere else.
    Robert B Super Reviewer
  • Oct 06, 2013
    Directors C Super Reviewer
  • Jul 23, 2011
    This movie is a trip: intense camera work, crazy angles, insane scene transitions, gorgeous lighting, breaking 360 rules, breaking pretty much every rule in the play book just to toy with the viewer's brain and it works. Naturally, the acting is good all around and great from Gosling, the music is tremendous, the effects are impressive buuuuuut the story, while comprehensible, doesn't want to develop characters; however, that is likely part of its plan for the lead up to the finale. I still felt something was missing but overall a great achievement technically. A bit like 'Jacob's Ladder' yet 'Stay' is its own monster of a mind-fuck.
    Jonny B Super Reviewer
  • May 13, 2011
    7.0/10 Some people don't watch a film if poor critical reception tells them to avoid it. Me, I don't live like that; I see movies that I want to see, or just about any movie in general. "Stay" is a movie that I wanted to watch, in spite of some mixed reception (with the only really, respectable positive stuff coming out of Ebert, who is to trust, and Travers, who is to trust about 50% of the time). The film is described, by many, as a pretentious mess of a movie that tells a pretentious mess of a story; one dealing with death, insanity, and perception. Alas, after finishing the film, I'm glad I saw it. Some people hate- and I mean HATE- "Stay" and its ambitious self. It is indeed ambitious, exploring themes that are perhaps too big for a movie this small. It's a tough sell, and readers, do not blame me if you see it and you do not enjoy it. It's a brain-teaser; a flawed one, but in conclusion, a pretty darn good one as well. A psychiatrist named Sam (Ewen McGregor) starts meeting with a new patient, Henry (Ryan Gosling). The patient is suicidal and depressed; and he also looks like he hasn't showed in ages. His hair is greasy, he's a smoker, and he's as pale as a corpse. Shortly after meeting him, Sam begins to wonder if a line can be drawn between reality and imagination; the dead and the living. He's talking to people who are dead, he's experiencing events that shouldn't be happening, and the viewpoint given (which is Sam's) makes the film feel like an acid trip. And in this case, it's a bad one, but who says imagery can't be haunting? Let's just say that the entire film leads to one big moment of extreme payoff; one that might piss you off, or might intrigue you, making you want more from this filmmaker and his writing partner. David Benioff, the writer of this film, seems rather intelligent when it comes to this material, even if he doesn't completely perfect his technique. In the end, the reason "Stay" is a good movie, rather than a great one, is a lack of consistency. Sometimes, the film has little moments of boredom, pretention, and nonsense. But then, there are even more moments of art, whimsy, beauty, and intelligence. Those things make up for whatever flaws "Stay" has. I enjoy films that deal with such themes as death and the afterlife. They can be very interesting. "Stay" does not intend on going deep into the psychology and existence of ghosts. The "ghosts" in this film are not so much spiritual anyway; rather an add-on to the torture of the character Sam. Yet, these ghosts have personalities and histories; as do the characters of the film. The actors portraying these characters are good in the film, although this is far from McGregor or Gosling's best work. And then there's Naomi Watts, who is pretty decent, but the sad thing is that her character just kind of takes up space and adds to the plot, bit-by-bit, but all too slowly. But if you're forgiving, then you won't mind...not too much, at least. I guess when it comes to the question of "will you like "Stay" or not?", one has to decide; will I be involved? If you are not involved in "Stay", then you will not like it. You will most likely find it to be pretentious and forgettable. I think you know what I think about the film, and I actually was able to enjoy it. "Stay" is a complicated and flawed work of thriller-drama cinematic fiction, but there is intelligence underneath the flaws, the visual design is great, and I conclude that this film is art. Psychological films that take you on an interesting, involving acid trip will never get old; and "Stay" is the rare film to embrace its flaws and absorb beauty, and flawed, but rewarding whimsy. So yes, "Stay" is a recommendation.
    Ryan M Super Reviewer

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