I’m Henry With Fate, I am!

The title seems to come directly from the filmmakers. “Stay. Stay put. Have a little patience. The movie will eventually make sense… somehow.”

From what I gathered, the movie is about a psychiatrist (Ewan McGregor) who tries to stop a patient named Henry (Ryan Gosling) from committing suicide. I would divulge more, but I’m not exactly sure what’s what in the movie, for sure. “Stay” is pretty much a daze to go through. “Stay” keeps certainty away and welcomes the company of doubts, ambiguities, dreams, and impossibilities.

In my opinion, this is the kind of movie you’d rather write than watch, the kind that you’d want to first watch at second viewing. If you don’t know the movie’s secret, you’re pretty much lost and confused most of the time. There is a puzzle to unravel, but it’s the kind that’s almost impossible to solve. I don’t care if it’s quite daunting, just as long as the movie keeps me hooked. It didn’t help that the puzzle pieces kept getting weirder and more discouraging. It could have been better had they revealed the secret much earlier. I really believe that. This way, I would have spent more time understanding a character, rather than being ambivalent. It seems the movie is more concerned with guarding its brilliant secret than involving the audience. So it sucks the first time around but the reward might be at the second viewing.

“Stay” drifts at least with a capable cast. Ryan Gosling is strangely wounded as Henry and Ewan McGregor nicely embodies the audience’s confusion as the mystified psychiatrist. Naomi Watts lends support as Sam’s girlfriend but she distractingly reminds us of the Lynch masterpiece “Mulholland Drive,” which frankly doesn’t make “Stay” look good. I like the movie nonetheless, because this is kind of stuff that intrigues me. To me, the film boils down to human emotions. The movie exists in a blurred world between the real and the unreal, but it is generated by an emotional language (that’s so intrinsic) we all should understand.

While I recommend the movie, it’s not worth it to watch in theaters. It has to be seen at least twice; one movie ticket only sells half the experience. The whole time I kept thinking, I could’ve gone to sleep and dreamt something as complex. It would probably be more satisfying since I would make sense of it better. Plus, it would cost me nothing. Instead of an exhausted mind, I’d wake up with brain cells refreshed. Wait for it in DVD for convenient multiple viewings. You can pause, rewind, and forward at will. “Stay” will probably stay in my head until I could verify some answers with a handy remote.

Grade: B+

Ewan McGregor, Naomi Watts, Ryan Gosling, Kate Burton, Bob Hoskins, Elizabeth Reaser, Janeane Garofalo, B.D. Wong
Screenplay by
David Benioff
Directed by
Marc Forster
Rated R for language and some disturbing images