Movieline's Hollywood Life - 07/01/2006
"Toni Collette gives a potent performance...The movie tantalizes right up to the final frame."
New York Times - 08/04/2006
"THE NIGHT LISTENER explores a shadowy region between truth and fiction....The film has its creepy, suspenseful moments..."
Total Film - 10/01/2006 4 stars out of 5 -- "[C]ompelling....With the sense of encroaching dread impressively oppressive..."
Sight and Sound - 10/01/2006
"It's admirably restrained compared to most Hollywood thrillers, and there is much to enjoy in the journey..."
Ultimate DVD - 03/01/2007 3 stars out of 5 -- "Williams is extremely strong as the vulnerable writer."
Inspired by a real-life experience of author Armistead Maupin (on whose book the film is based), THE NIGHT LISTENER is a dark drama that derives its strengths as much from the places it doesn't go as the places it does. Spare and tense, it tells the story of Gabriel Noone (Robin Williams), a storyteller with a national late-night radio show. Gay and recovering from a breakup with his much younger lover, Jess (Bobby Cannavale), Gabriel is experiencing writer's block. His life takes on a strange new wrinkle, though, when a literary agent (Joe Morton) passes on a manuscript he's received from a young fan of Gabriel's--an AIDS-stricken 14-year-old boy, Pete (Rory Culkin), who has written a detailed account of the prolonged sexual abuse he suffered at the hands of his parents and their friends. Gabriel develops a friendly phone relationship with the boy, but soon senses that something is unusual about Pete and his caretaker, Donna (Toni Collette), and ventures to Wisconsin to figure out exactly what's going on.
With its pure and streamlined narrative, THE NIGHT LISTENER sidesteps the showy pitfalls that derail many modern thrillers. Fueled by subdued performances from Williams, whose manic energy is all but invisible, and Collette, whose chameleon-like brilliance has never been more in evidence, the film has obvious echoes of Hitchcock, as well as strange parallels to 2005's JT LeRoy literary scandal. Once Noone arrives in Wisconsin, an all-enveloping sense of unease starts in on a slow burn, and remote locations are used to great effect. Williams has a scene in a hospital that couldn't be further from PATCH ADAMS, and by the quiet conclusion, you will be wondering if maybe you should be a little less trustful of strangers, especially if they're big fans of your work.
AIDS (Disease) |
Based On A Novel |
Gay / Lesbian |
New York City |
Theatrical Release |