Vagaries of Life
Starring: Ewan MacEwan, Naomi Watts,
Ryan Gosling, Bob Hoskins, and
Audience: Older teenagers and adults
Runtime: 99 minutes
Distributor: 20th Century Fox
Director: Marc Forster
Executive Producer: Bill Carraro and Guymon
Producer: Arnon Milchan, Tom Lassaly and
Writer: David Benioff
Address Comments To:Rupert Murdoch
Peter Chernin, President/COO
The Fox Group
Tom Rothman and Jim Gianopulos, Chairmen
Fox Filmed Entertainment
20th Century Fox Film Corp.
A division of Fox, Inc. and News Corp.
10201 West Pico Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90035
Phone: (310) 369-1000
The movie opens with a terrible traffic accident on the Brooklyn Bridge. The driver sits on the street as his car burns. Then, he walks away.
Cut to another man, Sam Foster, who sits up in bed and looks down at an engagement ring in his hand. Sam is a psychotherapist living with a beautiful blonde artist, a painter named Lilah. Sam still has doubts about proposing, however, because Lilah tried to commit suicide some months before.
Sam takes over for his colleague, Beth, who's out sick. The first patient he sees is a disturbed young artist, Henry Letham, the same man from the traffic accident. Henry somehow can predict the future and tells Sam that he plans to kill himself in several days, at midnight. As Sam races to prevent Henry from carrying out his deadly plan, events spin out of control, and viewers begin to wonder what is true and what is false, and whether Henry isn't just some kind of dark fantasy doppelganger for Sam, who may be the one who's really insane.
STAY suggests that dreams, especially nightmares, occur in a limbo realm between life and death. It also suggests that our lives are filled with many different paths which we might take. Love is another important theme in the movie, which shows viewers that love brings both joy and pain. Finally, the movie opines that, despite the tragedies we undergo, life is worth living because there's so much beauty in it.
Though the movie's handling of these themes and characters is intriguing, it is too elusive and vague. That is why STAY earns three stars instead of four stars. The movie also contains strong foul language, violence and themes of suicide. Furthermore, although it plays with reality and, hence, would seem to contradict ontological Christian truth, the ending reveals that the focus of the movie is really the psychology of the mind, the psychology of dreams and the experience of dying. Death, of course, is inevitable for all of us, and STAY doesn't suggest otherwise. It does, however, offer a brief hope of an afterlife, though it doesn't say anything more about it. Many viewers may feel cheated by the movie's mundane ending, but your experience of the movie may haunt you after you leave the theater.
STAY suggests that dreams, especially nightmares, occur in a limbo realm between life and death. The movie also asserts that, despite its tragedies, life is worth living because there's so much beauty in it. Many viewers may feel cheated by the movie's mundane ending, but the film may still haunt you after you leave the theater. The movie contains strong foul language, violence and themes of suicide, however.