One of the Best of 2022
|Stay the Night stars Andrea Bang and Joe Scarpellino as two lonely people facing rejection in their professional life and turning to strangers for a night out in their personal life. Like many romances that have come before it (notably Before Sunrise) this is just about two people meeting and getting to know each other over the course of one night. A cool winter night in downtown Toronto.
Directed by: Renuka Jeyapalan
Screenplay by: Renuka Jeyapalan
Starring: Andrea Bang, Joe Scarpellino
Continuing her post-Kim’s Convenience career, Andrea Bang has found another interesting character in a small, cute film. Grace is an HR administrator, just rejected for the promotion she applied for because she’s too standoffish and doesn’t have the amiable personality necessary for a customer-facing role. She then rejects a co-worker’s invite for drinks, pesters her roommate for being too messy, and rejects another invitation out for drinks, so she goes home by herself for an early night in bed. She’s a person who was told exactly what they need to do to show change for the next promotion and she immediately does the exact opposite. It’s not that she doesn’t want to put herself out there, but that she’s scared and doesn’t really know how. A character that’s relatable but also so reserved that you only see bits and pieces of her as the night progresses.
Almost Grace’s opposite is Carter (Joe Scarpellino) who’s a professional hockey player for the Tampa Bay Rays and is recognized by people wherever he goes. He’s currently in Toronto after finding out that he’s just been demoted, put on waivers and headed down to the minors. He’s nice enough to all the strangers who want to meet him, talk hockey to him or just throw themselves at him, but you can see the anguish on his face as he wrestles with the dejection privately while the rest of the world still knows him as an NHL hockey player.
After Grace gets herself out of bed and into a bar to make an attempt to be more sociable, and Carter uses her to get away from so-called fans, the two find themselves alone together.
It’s a very quiet film as neither Grace nor Carter want to open up to the other person but they also recognize a kindred spirit, somebody who may be able to absorb some of their anguish and uncertainty without adding any judgement. The two have a really enjoyable chemistry especially as Grace opens up to Carter, and the pain and embarrassment of her character is just so real.
Stay the Night is a very simple strangers-to-potential-soulmates romance. Just two people talking the night away, but both characters have really interesting dynamics aided by two enjoyable actors. I also loved the Canadian-ness of the film with the Toronto-setting and a professional American hockey player thrust into the center of the hockey world.