Stay With Us

Stay With Us

Stay with Us

Stay With Us
Stars: Gad Elmaleh, Regine Elmaleh, David Elmaleh, Judith Elmaleh, Mehdi Djaadl and William Azoulay
Director: Gad Elmaleh
Scriptwriters: Gad Elmaleh, Benjamin Charbit and Eyton Saada
Composer: Ibrahim Maalouf
Cinematography: Thomas Bremond
Vito Films
No Rating but could be PG 13
Running Length: 95 Minutes

French/English Language with subtitles
Re-Release in the United States Spring 2024 through Film Movement

Being born and raised within a religious community goes back to ancient times. The son or daughter is expected to marry and stay within that community and the traditions that go with it. However, there comes a time when an individual is not satisfied with their belief system and begins to study the traditions of another belief system. Such was the present-day life of comedian Gad Elhaleh, who happens to be a member of the Jewish religion. Gad begins to privately explore Catholicism with the aid of a nun and a priest. Questions are asked and answered. At this point, what do you do about family. 

“Stay With Us” is a semi-documentary of this situation and concerns Gad, his family and friends, Jewish rabbis and Catholic priests. All involved for one man’s exploration of a faith. We see Gad as a stand-up comic with sly comments on religions. He is popular with audiences and has fans. However, he feels there is something lacking in his life and he begins to quietly attend a catholic mass, then another and yet another. The Jewish religion has many traditions that are rather rigid, Gad feels, and Catholicism has fluentness, plus beautiful music and large churches with stained glass windows. Time passes and eventually, to their horror, Gad’s mother finds a small statute of the Virgin Mary in his luggage. Mom was doing a bit of snooping to see if Gad has a girlfriend. 

It is snippets of humor like this that come through and lighten the film.  Facial expressions are a delight. You can see where this is going and along the way, we meet relatives, friends and members of the clergy with their opinions. Who wants to toss the coin, heads or tails.

“Stay With Us” is really a one-man show for Gad Elhaleh, and he carries this well through acting and mannerisms. There are no actors, as such, in the film but family and friends and they add much to the ambience of change. Their son, brother, cousin, neighbor, has a dilemma and no one but that person can find a solution. My favorite moment is when Mom, excusing her snooping by saying she wants the room to be clean, finds the Mary statue and later finds out that Mary was a Jew. Religion is not as serious a subject then, when you can look at it from various viewpoints.

“Stay With Us” could be the film to see if there is division in a family concerning religion. You see what can happen when the imagination goes wild because of no knowledge of a faith. Something someone told you 50 years ago is still in a corner of the brain. Acting is well done by the lead actor and his family and friends. 

Copyright 2024 Marie Asner

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