Mixed or average reviews - based on 29 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 6 out of 29
  2. Negative: 8 out of 29
  1. 88
    The ending is an explanation, but not a solution. For a solution we have to think back through the whole film, and now the visual style becomes a guide. It is an illustration of the way the materials of life can be shaped for the purposes of the moment.
  2. 75
    Some people find this twisty and twisted psychological thriller arty and pretentious. I find it arty and provocative.
  3. Yet for a film so affectingly steeped in loss, resignation and the ghosts of memory, the revelation that pulls it all together, while satisfying and even touching, lacks emotional resonance.
  4. Despite the actors, the visuals and Forster's directorial swagger, the movie lacks impact.
  5. It's all very deep, but in a tricked-up, art-directed sort of way.
  6. 63
    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.
  7. 58
    In Stay, the director, Marc Forster, fresh from "Finding Neverland," turns Manhattan into a nightmarish dreamscape and his characters into self-destructive ghosts.
  8. 50
    Yet another variation on the theme of Ambrose Bierce's "An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge." If you've read the short story, you'll see where things are going in no time flat; if you haven't and want to be surprised, don't look it up.
  9. Reviewed by: Ryan Devlin
    A quarter of the way through the film, it’s all just too much.
  10. Stay is all dressed up with no place to go, an eye-popping exercise in lavish style unattached to any discernible content.
  11. 50
    Forster should be commended for attempting something as daunting as the overreaching Stay, which despite all of its muddled logic and porous reality – or perhaps because of it – forces you to think, a genuine rarity these days.
  12. Eventually I gave up on meaning and began instead to study the profuse imagery -- and also the flat characters and anchorless performances.
  13. With its flashy, pretentious visual effects, this is really a 98-minute dream sequence--though it's worth recalling that the most effective dream sequences tend to be only a few minutes long.
  14. If you're the kind of moviegoer who likes puzzling out the plots of insoluble movies, then by all means rush to see Stay, a great big blurry mess.
  15. There's really not much of an audience for this picture. The movie demands that its viewers put the fragmented images and information together like an intellectual jigsaw puzzle, but it never gives those viewers a good reason to do so.
  16. Reviewed by: Ian Nathan
    The type of movie often described as a fever-dream: weird, offbeat, otherworldly… An experience that also coincides with feeling ill.
  17. 40
    Forster and Benioff are able craftsmen who apparently thought it might be interesting to seal themselves into a narrative box with no way out. Sorry about that, guys -- I hope it was a growth experience.
  18. 40
    It's become a tired cliché for characters in "serious" science-fiction movies not to realize they're dead or dying, but Stay as a film doesn't seem to realize that it's dead from the outset, an unconvincing automaton grimly going through the motions.
  19. Reviewed by: Rachel Aviv
    In Marc Forster's humorless thriller, going insane is an exciting, luxurious affair. People suffer stylishly; depressives are angry and dirty; they make art, carry guns, and live in magnificent houses.
  20. The final twist does more to unravel what's come before than to tie it all together, making what's come before feel like a cosmopolitan goose chase.
  21. Reviewed by: Todd McCarthy
    An ultra-arty "The Sixth Sense" that deliberately inhibits comprehension of the story until the very end -- and arguably continues to inhibit it even then -- pic features certifiably talented people on both sides of the camera collaborating on a project that probably shouldn't have been undertaken in the first place.
  22. If "The Sixth Sense" was a bad movie redeemed by its surprise ending, Marc Forster's Stay is a seemingly good movie leading to a devastating letdown.
  23. Gosling's been better elsewhere but delivers an adequate performance. McGregor and Watts seem baffled most of the time, as well they might be. Forster keeps us from drifting off with inventive camerawork; in this case, that's like saying a hideous suit has well-stitched lapels.
  24. 30
    A steaming compost heap of high-art pretense and half-cocked psychoanalysis that almost makes you sorry Nicolas Roeg isn't making pictures anymore.
  25. Marc Forster takes a maximalist approach to this mumbo jumbo, which means that in addition to lots of wacky angles, shiny surfaces, seemingly endless stairs, and sets of twins, triplets and quadruplets, he deploys the unsettling vision of three talented actors - Ewan McGregor, Naomi Watts and Ryan Gosling - straining credulity and neck tendons in the service of serious claptrap.
  26. That mind-bending, mystical business was better handled in such films as 1990's "Jacob's Ladder."
  27. 25
    A trite, incoherent and pretentious bomb.
  28. Reviewed by: Neva Chonin
    Visuals can't fill a spiritual vacuum, and Stay remains a pretty package that's empty on the inside.
  29. 25
    Neither thrilling nor psychological, but it's chicly shot and edited and is pretty much art-directed to death.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 80 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 25 out of 39
  2. Negative: 12 out of 39
  1. Jan 8, 2013
    Superb, non-typical and breathtakingly beautiful dream-like movie. One of a kind movie and movies like this is hard to find. The story line did not make any sense, only because everything was imagined in Henry's head when he was about to die. It didn't need to, and that makes this movie so special. It really felt like it was in a dream. I thought the casts, script, effects and story line was brilliant. Kudos to director Marc Forster for thinking outside the box. Full Review »
  2. Aug 26, 2013
    Great storyline, superb cast, splendid director's work and filming, stylish picture. I'd recommend this to all people who loves movies which stimulate you to think them over. One of the best movies I've ever seen. Full Review »
  3. Aug 18, 2013
    This movie is a piece of art, It's like a dream. I have watched it several times and each time I've enjoyed it more. The acting is remarkable, especially Ryan Gosling who plays Henry. The directing is super artistic! I felt like I was in a dream when the scenes blurred into each other. The story was brilliant! The ending was so breathtaking and made me stay with the film after it was finished. This movie is so deep and some people may not enjoy or understand it completely, but for me 'Stay' is the greatest movie of all time! Full Review »