Film review: Stay With Me

A crowdfunded, independent film from Marty Lang, Stay With Me is a competent three-hander which deals with sex, obsession, loss and mental illness.

When Katie (Lara Fox) starts a relationship with Gavin (James Mitchell Neal), they connect physically but he shys away from commitment.

Her friend Maya (Addison Turner) helps both – the non-linear structure of the film tells us that she and Gavin are dealing with the loss of Katie, clearing out her things.

This is a low-budget piece, but has no sound or visual issues and deals well with the nuances of undiagnosed bipolar, as Katie demonstrates both intense neediness and sadness around her growing relationship, as well as episodes of mania.

In all three performances, there is a realism and clarity that gives Stay With Me an edge of subtlety. Fox’s quiet paranoia and desperation comes across well, while Neal shows strength in dealing with a tough situation.

Promotional image for Stay With Me

Turner has a pivotal role which they handle well, a steadfast friend and charismatic soulmate. Their positivity balances Katie’s mood swings and faux sunniness. It’s a good balance.

What particularly cones across is the warmth both Gavin and Maya show to a Katie who can’t always connect appropriately with them. It’s done with tact and sympathy.

Stay With Me might be guilty of slowing down its pace a little too much, and sometimes feeling a little one-note, but the writing (by Lang and Leaf Maiman) is strong throughout.

This is not a film to watch if you need cheering up, but if you are in the mood for an indie which tackles difficult subjects effectively from a millennial perspective, this one may well appeal.

My thanks to Marty Lang for giving me access to a copy of this film for review. You can view the trailer here.

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