The Night Listener - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The Night Listener Reviews

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Super Reviewer
October 18, 2014
A creepy and unsettling film. Robin Williams' performance was excellently suited to the character in this suspense film. I only wish we could have seen more of Sandra Oh.
Super Reviewer
January 6, 2009
The concept is good, but there's nothing beyond that here. Direction, acting, screenplay, background score: everything seemed too phony and quite ineffective here. There are too many inconsistencies in the movie and I couldn't help feeling distracted and, at times, bored. If you're suffering from insomnia, The Night Listener might be of some use to you.
Super Reviewer
½ July 29, 2007
Not very good at all. Very slow film with very little happening in it all based around one plot idea. Based on true events, however at 76 mins long there just isn't enough to interest you.
Super Reviewer
½ December 5, 2008
"Listen for the truth."

In the midst of his crumbling relationship, a radio show host begins speaking to his biggest fan, a young boy, via the telephone. But when questions about the boy's identity come up, the host's life is thrown into chaos.

Written by Armistead Maupin (who co-wrote the screenplay with his former lover Terry Anderson and the film's novice director Stettner) and based on a true story about a fan's hoax found out has some Hitchcockian moments that run on full tilt like any good old fashioned pot-boiler does. It helps that Williams gives a stand-out, low-key performance as the conflicted good-hearted personality who genuinely wants to believe that his number one fan is in fact real and does love him (the one thing that has escaped his own reality) and has some unsettling dreadful moments with the creepy Collette whose one physical trait I will leave unmentioned but underlines the desperation of her character that can rattle you to the core.
Super Reviewer
December 22, 2009
Hand on my Chest. A Brilliant Piece!
Super Reviewer
September 25, 2008
Let me begin by saying that with few exceptions (One Hour Photo) Robin Williams is not a "draw" for me. But while he did seem slightly miscast in this role...he was not horrible. Just not the best choice for the role (in my opinion).

The story itself is a little slow and not as well executed as it could have been. It almost seemed like a "made for tv" movie at times. But it was inriguing enough to keep my interst and at times was actually even a little creepy.

Toni Collette seldom disapoints and seems to get better, the more she challenges herself. I hope she continues to get the opportunity to do so.
Super Reviewer
July 25, 2007
A lonely and sad movie. I wasn't surprised it was based on true happenings; the events were too disturbed. The cinematography is dark and cold, which suits the story. There are enough answers to the mystery to make it a complete story.
Super Reviewer
½ March 28, 2008
I don't know why people would be down on this movie. Its all about the character played by Toni Collette. She has some deep secret in her past, and weaves Robin Williams, who plays a radio talk show host, into her life.
Super Reviewer
April 16, 2007
Dreary and lifeless
Super Reviewer
May 25, 2007
Hollow and boring, a slow death.
Super Reviewer
February 11, 2007
So mystery and psychological thriller story of a celebrated author and radio show host embarks on a journey to find the truth about his biggest fan - a 14-year-old boy. Toni Collette as the boy's mother unleashes a performance that's as spooky as it is intriguing, while Robin Williams shows that he can do drama better than many 'serious' actors.
Super Reviewer
August 9, 2006
Odd film. The outcome kind of surprised me and that is what makes a good movie.
Super Reviewer
½ July 25, 2007
A thriller with no thrills. It goes exactly where you think it will competently. The definition of average.
Super Reviewer
April 12, 2007
At only 80 minutes this film doesn't have a chance to get going. It moves too quickly, so quickly in fact suspenseful plot points are given away too early. Williams and Collette are both very good in this movie and are a good enough reason to watch it. If you have seen a lot of films you will know where this one is going, which may destroy some enjoyment.
Super Reviewer
August 7, 2006
This movie is too good to be passed-up. Of course, it will be overlooked because of its limited budget and distribution. The story, based on true events, starts with Williams as Gabriel Noone; a writer/radio host who delights his fans with stories of mystery, psychological wrangling and deceit. To his surprise, Gabriel has a 14-year-old admirer who happens to be too sick to meet him. The boy has been abused and is troubled as he is learning to adjust to his new life with his foster mom and a ravagin disease that is taking a toll on him. But soon the lines begind to blur as to what is really going on and what Gabriel, a lonely soul, is willing to make-up in order to fill in the gaps of his story. Toni Collette delivers another great performance as Donna and Robin Williams continues to prove his dramatic acting chops as the gay wordsmith. Rory Culkin also continues his winning streak of performances as the young boy Pete. Definitely get to the theaters and support this little film if you get the chance. The subject matter makes it very dark and hard to swallow...but it is well worth it because it is excellently written and directed.
Super Reviewer
½ July 30, 2006
This sucked, an interesting premise that just isn't taken anywhere special.
Super Reviewer
½ August 13, 2014
Inspired by true events, The Night Listener is a dark psychological thriller. The story follows Gabriel Noone, a radio talk show host who receives a manuscript from a 14-year old boy named Peter, who's a survivor of sexual abuse, but Gabriel soon starts to suspect that the whole thing is a hoax and sets off to discover whether or not Peter and his story are real. Robin Williams leads the cast and is supported by Toni Collette, Sandra Oh, and Rory Culkin, who all give good performances. The writing is also well-done, and keeps the mystery going right up until the end. Still, the ambiguity is a little overdone and the script has some weaknesses. The Night Listener meanders a little at times, but it's also rich with intrigue.
Super Reviewer
½ August 6, 2006
[font=Century Gothic]In "The Night Listener", Gabriel Noone(Robin Williams) is a storyteller on a nationally syndicated radio program, many of which are based on his life with his HIV Positive lover of eight years, Jess(Bobby Cannavale), but Jess has left Gabriel, leaving the older man in a funk. Gabriel's friend, Ashe(Joe Morton), gives him a manuscript written by a 14 year-old boy, Pete Logand(Rory Culkin), who had been sexually abused before being rescued by a social worker, Donna(Toni Collette), but Pete now has full blown AIDS. Gabriel begins a friendship with Pete over the telephone but becomes suspicious when Jess notices an eerie similarity between Pete's and Donna's voices...[/font]

[font=Century Gothic]"The Night Listener" is first and foremost about the art of storytelling and what makes a good story. Since the movie is inspired by a true story, there was no reason why elements could not have been added which would have made it a more interesting and better story than the one that was filmed. (Gabriel embellishes the stories he tells and lies outright to a fellow passenger.) The film is also about conflict between needing to believe in something versus being skeptical all of the time.[/font]
Super Reviewer
½ July 18, 2010
During his stand-up days, not long before his break-out success as zany alien Mork in television's Mork & Mindy, Robin Williams cultivated a gratuitously fey persona in spoofing homosexuals on-stage. Keeping this in mind only makes his wholly convincing portrayal of a depressed homosexual writer all the more refreshing, a subtlety supplanting exaggeration. Unfortunately, this performance alone can't ultimately carry the too-heavy-for-its-own-good thriller The Night Listener.

In this PG-13-rated psychological thriller, a writer who reads his works on a popular late-night radio show develops an intense but complicated relationship with a seriously ill boy (Rory Culkin)...a child who just might be a figment of a troubled mother (Collette)'s imagination.

Buoyed by an awesome supporting cast (especially Collette as the child's duplicit gatekeeper), Williams' tortured Gabriel Noone kinda sorta holds moviegoers' sympathies as he tries, in a somewhat pathetic Quixotic attempt, to search out this elusive butterfly. A maudlin spirit permeates the movie, however, causing the audience to thirst for an increased dosage of humor or whimsy. The ending also proves problematic. The suspense comes undone in the home stretch when the movie, which (or so the audience is told at the outset) is based on true events, takes a definite stand on the boy's existence...only to repeat the "true events" mantra again and lecture John Q. Moviegoer that the matter was never actually resolved. Huh? Director Patrick Stettner simply should have taken a firm stand and said no more. In truth, this is the kind of suspenser M. Night Shyamalan would have done wonders with-a lost man, a troubled boy, and a Hitchcockian twist.

Bottom line: Bad Night, And Good Luck.
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