Stay The Night Review – SXSW 2022

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Stay for the night is written and directed by Renuka Jeyapalan, and true to its title takes place over the course of a single night. Grace (Andrea Bang) works as a human resources manager and feels frustrated that she didn’t get the promotion she worked for, leaving her to try out for a drink with her friend Joni (Humberly Gonzalez) – but that plan backfires him when Joni brings a Tinder date home. Meanwhile, NHL player Carter (Joe Scarpellino) learns he’s been kicked from his team, leaving him jobless. Soon their paths cross and they explore Toronto while growing closer to each other.

Some of the best SXSW movies usually revolve around relationships. Since last year Between girls to the short film radical honesty, the more SXSW fare begins to explore love in all its forms. With Stay for the night, the question is, in an age where technology can reveal a person’s entire life, can two people make a connection without said technology? The answer seems to be yes; Throughout the film, the two protagonists begin to talk and find out more about each other, including their love life. Thanks to Bang and Scarpellino’s chemistry, viewers will be drawn into their characters’ budding relationship. Jeyapalan was really lucky when it came to casting the lead roles for his feature debut; it’s one of the most believable slow-burn romances to hit screen in a while.

This relationship also sees both characters overcome their fears and blockages. At the start of the film, Joni tells Grace that she is self-sabotaging any potential relationship due to her insecurities; Carter then urges her to move the next time she meets a guy she likes – and you wouldn’t know it, she does. Likewise, Grace shows Carter the world outside of fancy hotels and restaurants and actively gets him to open up about his fears of losing the one thing he’s good at. Jeyapalan understands that whether you’re 13 or 30, there are still things you will discover about yourself – it’s a story thread that resonated with me as I’m still figuring out who I am at 30 years old.

In addition to writing characters whose relationship develops over time, Jeyapalan also explores the nooks and crannies of Toronto through stay the night Duration. Several shots feature the various buildings and locations that make up the city, with cinematographer Conor Fisher playing with light to create breathtaking scenes. A scene takes place in a neon-lit club; another in a skating rink that features puffs of white snow shooting across the sky as Carter and Grace skate up and down in its center. Included between Stay for the night and turn redToronto appears to be a new setting for potential film projects.

Stay for the night is a surprisingly moving look at how modern relationships work and proof that there’s no need to rush a romance or a relationship. As someone whose efforts to get back into the dating game have been hampered, this movie struck several chords with me.

Stay for the night premiering at the 2022 SXSW Film Festival.

Stay for the night

9/10

TL; DR

Stay for the night is a surprisingly moving look at how modern relationships work and proof that there’s no need to rush a romance or a relationship. As someone whose efforts to get back into the dating game have been hampered, this movie struck several chords with me.

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