Stay the Same Never Change

Director: Laurel Nakadate
Screenwriters: Laurel Nakadate

Institute History

  • 2009 Sundance Film Festival


Artist/filmmaker Laurel Nakadate’s weird and delightful first feature film, Stay the Same Never Change, is a raw, audacious effort that burns with such originality and honesty that it seems destined to become a Festival discovery. Starring amateur actors in Kansas City, and filmed in their real homes, Stay the Same Never Change is a film that is as much visual fact as narrative fiction about American heartland folk and the lives they live while wanting more.

A nonlinear yarn that skips among various vignettes depicting the solitary existence of distantly connected young women, Nakadate's film exudes a warm sense of humor as it peers into the loneliness of the girls and their desperate attempts to find affection. From a pining tween who turns to her sewing machine for creature comforts to a young woman obsessed with polar bears and Oprah, Nakadate’s characters reveal quiet lives brimming with anguish and desire, but also a fascinating ingenuity. Awkward moments of absurdity and small ruptures in their lives offer opportunities for these girls to create a new world or stretch for what is just beyond their reach.

You do not have to hail from the heartland to connect with the infectious appeal of Stay the Same Never Change. If you’ve ever been a tween and pined for life and love, you will cringe with powerful personal recognition as you witness the seemingly psychotic lives of these girls.

— Shari Frilot

Screening Details

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