The Night Listener

B+
The Night Listener
Rated R; Directed by Patrick Stettner; Starring Robin Williams, Toni Collette, Bobby Cannavale, Rory Culkin, Joe Morton, Sandra Oh

It’s hard to see a decent drama like The Night Listener show up at the theaters during blockbuster summer. What are the studio honchos thinking?  It doesn’t stand a chance. What a shame, it deserves an audience.

Robin Williams stars as Gabriel Noone, a radio show host who has lost the inspiration for his show. His partner, Jess (Bobby Cannavale), has moved out. It’s when a manuscript written by an abused child is shown to Gabriel that he discovers a new source of inspiration to. Fourteen year-old Pete Logand (Rory Culkin), the writer of the manuscript is a fan of Gabriel. Pete calls him and over a series of phone calls a friendship develops, but is Pete really what he seems to be? When Jess remarks that Pete’s foster mother, Donna (Toni Collette), and Pete have the same voice it raises Gabriel’s suspicions. The movie becomes his hunt for the truth.

The movie is hard to classify. Based on a story by writer Armistead Maupin, the script plays with reality. We see Pete and Donna talking to Gabriel on the phone, but was that Gabriel’s image of them that we see and reality is something very different?

The cast for this movie is great. Robin Williams makes Gabriel a confused hero who doesn’t know what to believe. It’s Toni Collette that is the standout. Donna is a mystery and Toni plays the role with intensity. Collette is a wonderful actress and seems incapable of giving a bad performance.

This quiet film offers good performances and an interesting story. This movie won’t be around long, the movie executives have seen to that, so see it while you can.

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