SXSW 2022: ‘Stay The Night’ Will Melt Even The Hardest Of Hearts

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Stay The Night - But Why Tho

Stay 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 an HR manager and feels frustrated that she hasn’t gotten the promotion she’d been working for, leaving her to try and go out for drinks with her friend Joni (Humberly Gonzalez) – but this plan backfires when Joni takes a Tinder date back to her place. Meanwhile, NHL player Carter (Joe Scarpellino) learns that he’s been cut from his team – effectively leaving him jobless. Soon their paths cross, and they explore Toronto while also growing close to each other.

Some of the best films at SXSW usually revolve around relationships. From last year’s Inbetween Girl to the short film Radical Honesty, more SXSW fare is starting to explore love in all its forms. With Stay The Night, the question is: in an age where technology can reveal a person’s entire life, can two people form a connection without said technology? The answer seems to be yes; throughout the film, the two leads start talking and learn more about each other, including their love lives Thanks to Bang and Scarpellino’s chemistry, viewers will be drawn into their characters’ budding relationship. Jeyapalan truly lucked out when it came to casting the leads for her debut feature; it’s one of the most believable slow-burn romances put to the screen in a while.

That relationship also sees both characters overcoming their fears and hangups. Early in the film, Joni tells Grace that she self-sabotages any potential relationships due to her insecurity; Carter then pushes her to make a move the next time she meets a guy she likes – and wouldn’t you 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’ll be figuring out about yourself – it’s a story thread that resonated with me since I’m still figuring out who I am at 30.

In addition to penning characters whose relationship grows over time, Jeyapalan also explores the nooks and crannies of Toronto throughout Stay The Night’s runtime. Multiple shots feature the various buildings and locations that make up the city, with cinematographer Conor Fisher playing with light to create some truly breathtaking scenes. One scene takes place in a club lit with neon; another in a skating rink that features puffs of white snow shooting into the sky as Carter and Grace skate up and down its center. Between Stay The Night and Turning Red, Toronto looks to be a fresh new setting for potential film projects.

Stay The Night is a surprisingly moving look at how modern-day relationships work, and proof that you don’t have to rush a romance or relationship. As someone whose efforts to get back into the dating game have been hampered, this film struck several chords with me.

Stay The Night premiered at the SXSW Film Festival 2022.


Stay The Night
  • 9/10
    Rating - 9/10
9/10

TL;DR

Stay The Night is a surprisingly moving look at how modern-day relationships work, and proof that you don’t have to rush a romance or relationship. As someone whose efforts to get back into the dating game have been hampered, this film struck several chords with me.