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The Night Listener (2006)

Robin Williams , Toni Collette , Patrick Stettner  |  R |  DVD
3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (74 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Robin Williams, Toni Collette, Rory Culkin, Joe Morton, Bobby Cannavale
  • Directors: Patrick Stettner
  • Writers: Patrick Stettner, Armistead Maupin, Terry Anderson
  • Producers: Armistead Maupin, Brett Williams, Caroline Kaplan, Daniel Feiner
  • Format: AC-3, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: Spanish, French
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Miramax
  • DVD Release Date: January 9, 2007
  • Run Time: 91 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (74 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000J3FBDO
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #163,222 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Night Listener" on IMDb

Special Features

  • Deleted scene
  • "The Night Listener Revealed" featurette

Editorial Reviews

Academy Award(R) winner Robin Williams (Best Supporting Actor, GOOD WILL HUNTING, 1997; ONE HOUR PHOTO, INSOMNIA) is unforgettable in a riveting, critically acclaimed psychological thriller based on true events! Gabriel Noone (Williams), a celebrated writer and late-night talk show host, becomes captivated by the harrowing story of a young listener and his adoptive mother (Toni Collette – LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE, IN HER SHOES). When troubling questions arise about the boy’s identity, however, Noone finds himself drawn into a widening mystery that hides a deadly secret! Also starring Sandra Oh (SIDEWAYS, TV’s GREY'S ANATOMY) and based on the best-selling novel by Armistead Maupin, THE NIGHT LISTENER delivers unpredictable twists and turns that will keep you on the edge of your seat!

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars It could have been fabulous but missed the boat January 30, 2007
By MLRapp
I really wanted to love this film for a few reasons: (1) the very compelling premise (a radio storyteller in the midst of his own relationship troubles starts receiving calls from a young fan who is trying to publish a book about his childhood abuse, only to realize this "Petey" may not be who he claims to be, if he exists at all); (2) Robin Williams played a serious role which is so rare - it was wonderful to watch him play a gay man (in what I thought was an unstereotypical way) who was so emotionally raw; (3) Toni Collette was DYNAMITE in her role as the "boy's adoptive mother" (she should have been nominated for her role); and (4) it started off in such a way that I was constantly trying to figure out what was happening, which kept me on my toes, so to speak.

However, somewhere along the line the movie missed the boat, and my above-mentioned reasons for wanting to love it were outweighed by the lack of fulfillment I had upon finishing the film. If I were a movie expert perhaps I would be better able to explain what exactly was missing from this film, but as a lay person I just felt like it didn't live up to its potential, despite the interesting plot and wonderful acting. The ending (I won't give anything away), while interesting, was completely predictable and didn't really make up for the fact that the viewer was "in the dark" for the first half of the film.

I wouldn't recommend buying this movie (or even renting it), unless you are solely interested in Toni Colette's performance which was great.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Lovers of Maupin - get this October 7, 2006
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Based on the theatrical release. THE NIGHT LISTENER is a psychological thriller based on the international bestselling novel by Armistead Maupin. The story revolves around a celebrated writer and popular late-night radio show host, Gabriel Noone (Robin Williams), who develops an intense phone relationship with a young listener named Pete (Rory Culkin) and his adopted mother (Toni Collette) just as his own domestic life is undergoing drastic changes. When troubling questions arise regarding the boy's identity, it causes Gabriel's ordered existence to spin wildly out of control as he sets out on a harrowing journey to find the truth.

This was an interesting movie. Almost like a heart warming film at first, only to become a much darker film. I wish the film went at a faster pace. But I am a fan of Maupin (the writer) from his Tales of the City. (This is not a gay film.) While not Oscar level, I liked it for a rainy afternoon.
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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Dark & Low Key March 25, 2007
Armistead Maupin's novel, The Night Listener, was a departure from his usual light hearted looks at metrosexuals. The roman-a-clef was based on an episode in Maupin's own life that coincided with the break up of his relationship with Terry Anderson. During this period, Maupin became involved in a phone relationship with what he thought was a 14 year old boy who was dying of AID's & the boy's care-giver, Donna. Eventually doubts were raised about whether the boy actually existed or was Donna herself.

The novel tells its story primarily through conversation, on the telephone & between Gabriel Noone (Maupin's alter-ego) & his ex, his publisher, and his personal assistant. This works in a novel, but can be hard to translate to a visual medium due to its lack of action. The film of The Night Listener does not succeed in crossing over, possibly due to the fact that Maupin & ex-partner Anderson wrote the screenplay. The film doesn't work in many places, mostly due to adhering too closely to the book.

One of the biggest problems with the film is that it is dark. Not just emotionally dark, but filmed with so little light in many interior scenes that it is difficult to tell where the action is taking place. Although the film is supposed to be a `thriller of the heart', the darkness does nothing to add to a sense of tension.

Another set of problems are related to the screenplay: first, that the initial build up of the relationship between Noone and the boy Pete isn't shown. The viewer sees 2 phone calls and immediately Noone becomes obsessed with Pete Logan. In this case the film would benefit from a more gradual arc. Secondly, the scene with Gabriel Noone & his father, played by Northern Exposure's John Collum.
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13 of 18 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars In Search of a Friend Who May Not Exist January 31, 2007
Night Listener is a movie based on the true story of Anthony Godby Johnson and stars Robin Williams and Toni Collette in the main roles. Williams' Gabriel character develops a phone relationship with a young boy named Pete but eventually becomes suspicious that his "friend" may not exist because no one has ever seen him. He doesn't want to accept this but he starts to wonder if it really is true. His suspicions are deepened with another person tells Gabriel that a psychological disorder exists that explains this type of behavior. Gabriel is bound and determined to find closure to this mystery and he sets off to Wisconsin in seek of the truth.

This sounds like the buildup to a great thriller/suspense film but the fact of the matter is The Night Listener doesn't quite deliver the amount of pulse- pumping, heart- thumping suspense action its premise suggests. There are a few creepy scenes in the film and some surprises. But the creepiness and the shock value never quite approach the level of a great suspense thriller. This isn't to say that Night Listener doesn't have its moments because there are a few. Toni Collette is responsible for most of the film's best and most memorable moments. Her Donna character is a blind woman; a little unstable and a little weird. You don't know exactly what she might do next and she is responsible for the few moments of suspense present in this film.

Besides the suspense, there is a deeper message to this movie and it is one that becomes more obvious as the movie drags on. It is a message of wanting to gain attention and feel the strong ties of a relationship. The lengths that some people will go to fulfill this need are varied from person to person. But you see it happening in this film.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Night Listener Review
I saw a documentary on TV about The subject (boy) and this movie was mentioned so I bought it. The movie is a fictionalized account of Armisted Maupin's journey into hope and... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Silk
5.0 out of 5 stars Creepy
Always liked this movie, finally got around to buying it. Good quality, plays good, no complaints. Enjoyed seeing it again.
Published 6 months ago by ManicBobo
5.0 out of 5 stars The Night Listener
Robin Williams surpasses all expectations in this true story of a late night radio personality. As host of a talk show he becomes entranced by a young boy who is being abused. Read more
Published 10 months ago by Kathleen Peterson
3.0 out of 5 stars Talk Radio plus
Robin Williams stars as a gay talk show host who is drawn to a listener to his program. The problem is that the person may or may not exist. Read more
Published 13 months ago by RickDVD
4.0 out of 5 stars Approval Needed
We have all them in our lives, people who need approval so badly they will say anything to sound sympathetic. This is the story of that small trait gone out of control. Read more
Published 16 months ago by Stephen R. Stapleton
2.0 out of 5 stars Skip this movie
suprisingly boring and confusuing(altho it clarifys at the end) I was disapointed for I have generally enjoyed movies with Robin Williams.
Published 16 months ago by robert karl icenogle
1.0 out of 5 stars Gay overtones
Robin has some good works but this is not one. Would not recommend this movie. There are lots of better chooses.
Published 18 months ago by Robert D. Graham
5.0 out of 5 stars Great movie
Saw this movie on TV. It is a great addition to my collection. Robin Williams is great in this movie.
Published 19 months ago by Moore
2.0 out of 5 stars Great cast, great story, but the film falls short
Since this movie was based off the book by my favorite author Armistead Maupin I was very excited to see the big screen version of it. Read more
Published on February 3, 2012 by PB&J
2.0 out of 5 stars "Listen for the truth ... ", or, Where did I leave that boy dying of...
THE NIGHT LISTENER (2006) was one of the weirdest, creepiest films I could ever recall watching. In brief, Robin Williams plays New York DJ Gabriel Noone ("no one", get... Read more
Published on March 18, 2011 by E. Hernandez
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