Please note that this is a capsule review. Our full review is under embargo until the film’s release date, which is TBD.
Based on the novel by Aislinn Hunter, the sweetly melancholic Stay introduces us to Dermot (Aidan Quinn) and Abbey (Taylor Schilling, from Netflix’s Orange is the New Black), a couple in the midst of a May/December romance that’s only beginning to emerge from its hazy honeymoon phase.
The two live in rural Ireland, in a tiny town that hasn’t quite accepted Abbey as a permanent fixture in Dermot’s life, making it all the more difficult for the Montreal-born drifter to settle down. When Abbey realizes she’s pregnant, it causes a rift in her relationship with Dermot who’s always made it clear he’s not interested in being a Father. She decides to return home to Canada to see her Dad, leaving Dermot to deal with his loneliness as well as the handful of villagers who are suddenly invading his life: a teen boy looking for a Father figure; a young neighbour who’s just become a single Mother; and an old colleague who forces him to face the sordid past he left behind in Dublin.
Director Wiebke von Carolsfeld maintains her excellent track record in creating quiet films bursting at the seams with subtle character development and storylines that cut right to the heart of human interactions and relationships. This is a film that shies away from the overly dramatic, even when its revelations are staggeringly life-changing. In fact, Stay feels positively bold precisely because it maintains its reserved tone while delving deeply into the depths of the darkest of emotional truths.
Stay is a quiet film that will worm its way into your heart with its beautifully-developed characters and its intelligently-crafted story.