Film: Stay

A 2005 Psychological Thriller directed by Marc Forster and starring Ewan McGregor, Ryan Gosling and Naomi Watts.

A troubled young art student named Henry Letham (Gosling) miraculously survives a car accident on the Brooklyn Bridge. He goes to see a psychologist named Sam Foster (McGregor) and announces that he will kill himself in three days' time, on the eve of his twenty-first birthday. As Sam races to track down Henry and save his life, he finds his perspective on what's real and what isn't beginning to slip as he gets drawn into his dark world.

A notable critical and commercial failure, making back only $8 million on a $50 million budget and getting panned by most critics (although several, including Roger Ebert, responded more positively).

Stay contains examples of the following tropes:

  • All Just a Dream: Of the Dying Dream variety.
  • Arc Number: 21.
  • Ate His Gun: How Henry "kills himself".
  • Driven to Suicide:
    • The plot is set in motion by Henry announcing his intention to kill himself in three days' time. He eventually completes the suicide... sort of.
    • Sam's girlfriend Lila attempted suicide in the past, but Sam saved her. He agonises over whether to propose to her in part because he fears she'll try again.
  • Dying Dream: More or less the entire film is Henry's dream as he lies dying after a car accident which also killed his girlfriend and parents.
  • Sanity Slippage: Throughout the film it's implied that Sam is slowly losing his mind.
  • Through the Eyes of Madness: Throughout the film it looks like Sam is losing his mind as the line between reality and fantasy becomes blurred, but the end reveals that the whole film was Henry's Dying Dream.
  • Whole Plot Reference: It's effectively a modern adaptation of "An Occurence at Owl Creek Bridge".