Stay Explained: What’s Up With the Ending?

In 2005, Marc Forster’s psychological thriller “Stay” appeared. The perception of the picture depends on the viewer’s level of familiarity with the director’s work and his readiness for such cinematic puzzles. What is the meaning of the movie “Stay”? Reality or dream – everything described in the thriller?


The film “Stay”, the meaning of which will be disassembled, has an intricate, broken plot.

A young man, Henry Letham, comes to a psychiatrist and learns that his former doctor, Elizabeth, has fallen ill. Now he will be treated by Sam Foster. Dissatisfied with the change of doctors, the guy leaves.

On the next visit, Letham tells Foster that his parents are dead and he wants to commit suicide in 3 days. Henry is in love with a familiar waitress, Athena, whom he wanted to propose to. The guy even bought her a ring, but lost it.

The hero draws pictures. He wants to die on his birthday, as did the 18th-century artist Tristan Revere, who destroyed all his works before his death.

On a note! The artist Tristan Revere that Letham wanted to be like doesn’t exist in the real world.

Sam is talking to his love, Lila, a teacher and artist who once tried to commit suicide. The girl offers to talk to Henry.

Sam plays chess with the blind Dr. Patterson, who Henry recognizes as his father. But the doctor did not recognize his son.

Foster goes to his apartment looking for Letham. All the walls of the room are equally finely inscribed with the word “Excuse me.” Sam visits his colleague Beth at home and asks about Henry. “I didn’t touch him. I know not to touch them,” the woman says. She suggests that Foster find out where the patient’s mother is.

Something strange is happening…

Sam calls Letham’s mother, comes to her house. The woman takes the psychiatrist for her son and hugs him. She is sure that Henry is not to blame for anything. Blood slowly starts to flow from her head. Sam tries to help the patient’s mother – a dog named Olivia immediately pounces on him.

The sheriff who came to the doctor claims that the mother of the protagonist cannot be alive – he was at her funeral.

At the next meeting, Henry is surprised that the mother and the dog are alive. The dog was euthanized when the hero was 12 years old, and his mother died before his eyes. He admits that he killed his parents himself, and asks to be left alone.

Sam drives to all the cafes on Canal Street to find Athena. Finds her in a theater group, asks about Henry. She barely remembers the guy, but she feels a connection with him. Says Letham frequents Smith’s bookstore. The hero is not found there either. The salesman says Letham bought all the Tristan Revere books from them.

Lyla tells Sam that Revere shot himself on the Brooklyn Bridge. Foster runs there. Before his eyes, Henry puts a gun in his mouth, shoots.

In the final scene on the Brooklyn Bridge, a wrecked car is shown. Henry’s dead parents are in the back seat, and Athena is covered in blood on the pavement. The hero himself lies half-dead – he is surrounded by Dr. Sam Foster, Nurse Lila and other characters from previous scenes. Henry takes Lila for Athena – confesses his love to her, asks for her hand. After ascertaining the death of a guy, the doctor and nurse agree to drink coffee together.

Plot Explanation

What is the meaning of the film “Stay”, created in 2005 by director Marc Forster?

The essence of the plot is as follows: the main character is driving along the Brooklyn Bridge with a girl and parents. Their car gets into an accident. All passengers except Henry die. In the last minutes of his life, the consciousness of a young man draws a story from fragments of memories. The main characters in it are Henry himself and strangers who surrounded the dying hero:

  • the first psychologist, Henry Bat, is the woman Letham sees after the accident of the first;
  • Sam Foster is a doctor trying to help Henry;
  • Lyla is a nurse who helps Dr. Foster provide first aid;
  • a psychiatrist, Athena’s partner in the theater, a man in a book and aquarium, a woman with a child – their images are also taken from the crowd of people on the Brooklyn Bridge.

In the first part of the film (the illusion), Letham hears voices coming from a tragic reality. Only at the end does it become clear why the first psychiatrist Henry keeps repeating the phrase: “I didn’t touch him. I know not to touch them.” At first, this set of words does not fit into the plot in any way – the consciousness of the hero could not find a use for them.

Also, the phrase of a boy walking with his mother by the hand down the street, said several times during the film (“Mom, will this uncle die?”), and the words of a man in the aquarium (“He still won’t survive”) sound out of place.

It is interesting! The film Stay is reminiscent of David Lynch’s psychological thriller Mulholland Drive in terms of meaning and construction of the storyline. Both paintings are divided into 2 parts, one of which is real, the other is illusory.

The unreality of the events of the first part is also evidenced by the repetition of actions, the presence of a large number of doubles, the blurring of the scenery, the sudden disappearance of the characters from the visibility zone.

root causes

Why did the image of a suicide appear in the mind of a young man?

The point is the guilt that Henry feels in front of his parents and his girlfriend. The meaning of the film “Stay” in 2005 is that the main character cannot forgive himself for the death of loved ones. In his opinion, he was to blame for the accident. This makes him, at the subconscious level, a mentally unstable character who wants to punish himself for the murder.

On the other hand, the hero’s brain tries to defend itself against its own judgment. To this end, the image of the rescuer Sam appears. The psychiatrist does everything in his power to dissuade the guy from attempting suicide. He even manages to find Letham’s living mother and girlfriend; Henry sees his living father in his office. Although evidence of the death of heroes immediately appears:

  • blood on mother’s temple;
  • Athena, left alone in the hall;
  • lanterns going out after the father leaving in the distance.

Lila also tries to help the hero. Only her example of a “failed suicide” will not be able to save Letham – she lives for the sake of her beloved, Sam. The hero understands that he does not have a person left to live for. A sad ending is inevitable.

The tragic outcome of events is confirmed by multiple symbols:

  • a suspended black piano is an impending threat;
  • a black ball flying into the sky is a harbinger of death and mourning;
  • the water column in the oceanarium is a weight that has fallen on the hero.

What is the essence of the ending

Attempts by consciousness and real people to save a young man from death are futile – Henry sees no point in later life. Therefore, in an imaginary world, he kills himself, after which he dies for real.

However, Sam and Laila still manage to help the main character. Their words about Henry’s innocence in what happened (the front wheel burst) make it possible for the hero’s soul to calmly go to heaven.

In Letham’s imagination, Sam still hesitated to give Lila the ring. In reality, Henry himself was going to offer his hand and heart to his beloved for a long time. And having decided, he did not have time to do this because of the accident. He never told Athena that he loved her, wanted to be with her forever. This fact torments the heart of the hero. The final consent of Lila (Athena) to marry him saves Henry – he dies with a smile on his lips.

The meaning of the ending of the film “Stay” is that before Henry’s death, he is finally freed from the guilt that tormented him and goes to heaven to Athena.

A sad, heavy psychological thriller was released in 2005 by Marc Forster. The film “Stay”, the meaning of which for many viewers remains a mystery, blows the brain, changes the general perception of reality. Only careful viewing helps to extract the truth from fragments of Foster’s puzzle.

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