The Night Listener

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Overview

A man whose life has been touched by tragic illness is drawn into the life of another victim whose story has an unsettling twist in this drama. Gabriel Noone Robin Williams is a radio talk show host who has developed a loyal following for his deeply personal on-air monologues, many of which deal with his relationship with his companion Jess Bobby Cannavale, who is HIV-positive and struggling with his health. When Jess' condition improves, he surprises Gabriel by announcing he needs his space and has decided to ...
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Overview

A man whose life has been touched by tragic illness is drawn into the life of another victim whose story has an unsettling twist in this drama. Gabriel Noone Robin Williams is a radio talk show host who has developed a loyal following for his deeply personal on-air monologues, many of which deal with his relationship with his companion Jess Bobby Cannavale, who is HIV-positive and struggling with his health. When Jess' condition improves, he surprises Gabriel by announcing he needs his space and has decided to break up with him. Gabriel is shaken and feels creatively blocked until Ashe Joe Morton, a friend in the publishing business, gives him an advance copy of a memoir by Pete Logand Rory Culkin, a 14-year-old boy living with AIDS. Pete's book is a harrowing memoir of a childhood fraught with abuse of all sorts meted out at the hands of his parents, and Gabriel is deeply moved by his story. One night, Gabriel gets a phone call from Pete, who claims to be a big fan of his radio show, but the call is cut off by Donna Toni Collette, Pete's stern and protective stepmother. While Gabriel admires Pete's book, he begins to question its veracity, and with the help of Anna Sandra Oh tries to research the facts behind the story. As he uncovers more loose ends, Gabriel begins to suspect that Pete isn't the true author of the work, and that Donna has created his terrible past in the name of literary celebrity. The Night Listener was adapted from the novel by Armistead Maupin.
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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Ed Hulse
Based on a harrowing novel by Armistead Maupin, the man behind the decidedly more lighthearted Tales of the City, this raw-nerved psychological thriller offers a meaty featured role for Robin Williams, here is his “serious actor” mode. Williams plays late-night radio talk-show host Gabriel Noone, who comes to doubt the authenticity of a shocking manuscript he’s become fascinated by. It was supposedly written by a 14-year-old AIDS sufferer documenting sexual abuse at his parents’ hands, but the author may actually be an invention of an overprotective stepmother, Donna (Toni Collette). As Noone's own fabulist tendencies color his struggle to unravel the truth, director Patrick Stettner skillfully weaves in a subplot tracing the gradual collapse of the radio host's relationship with longtime lover Jess (Bobby Cannavale). Stettner (The Business of Strangers) suffuses the yarn with brooding atmosphere, making effective use of moody cinematography and appropriately intense musical scoring. Unusual, devoid of cliché, and frank in its concerns, The Night Listener stands out from the pack as an adult drama that doesn’t skimp on the thrills.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 5/24/2011
  • UPC: 096009773595
  • Original Release: 2006
  • Rating:

  • Source: Miramax Echo Bridge
  • Time: 1:21:00
  • Format: DVD

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Robin Williams Gabriel Noone
Toni Collette Donna Logand
Bobby Cannavale Jess
Joe Morton Ashe
Sandra Oh Anna
Rory Culkin Pete Logand
John Cullum Pap Noone
Becky Ann Baker Waitress
Lisa Emery Darlie Noone
Maryann Plunkett Alice
Technical Credits
Patrick Stettner Director, Screenwriter
Terry Anderson Executive Producer, Screenwriter
Kerry Barden Casting
Wouter Barendrecht Co-producer
Linda Cohen Musical Direction/Supervision
Suzanne Crowley Casting
Rich Devine Set Decoration/Design
Marina Draghici Costumes/Costume Designer
Carrie Fix Asst. Director
Jill Footlick Producer
John Hart Producer
Michael Hogan Executive Producer
Billy Hopkins Casting
Caroline Kaplan Executive Producer
Andy Keir Editor
Robert Kessel Producer
Armistead Maupin Executive Producer, Screenwriter
Peter Nashel Score Composer
Eva Radke Art Director
Lisa Rinzler Cinematographer
Jonathan Sehring Executive Producer
Jeff Sharp Producer
Mike Shaw Production Designer
Noah Vivekanand Timan Sound/Sound Designer
Michael J. Werner Co-producer
Brett Williams Associate Producer
Nina Wolarsky Associate Producer
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Scene Index

Disc #1 -- Night Listener
1. Cause for Concern [6:48]
2. Black Ink Factory [7:42]
3. Relationships [6:19]
4. The Same Voice [4:44]
5. No Record [4:41]
6. Long Distance [4:41]
7. The Star [4:28]
8. Trust [6:43]
9. Boundaries [5:52]
10. Investigation [3:54]
11. Breaking and Entering [3:42]
12. Mistaken Identity [5:26]
13. Unworthy of Love [3:02]
14. Videotape [4:49]
15. Fiction [7:53]
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Menu

Disc #1 -- Night Listener
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   Chapters
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 1 )
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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Maupin's Novel Depended on Mind Mysteries: The Camera Somehow Interferes

    Armistead Maupin's novel THE NIGHT LISTENER is a terrifyingly disturbing examination of a disintegrating mind and the manner in which such a mind deals with needs and reality. It is a stunning work, one in which the reader is never quite sure where reality stops and delusions start. Though Maupin co-wrote the screenplay adaptation with Terry Anderson and Director Patrick Stettner, some of the inherent magic of the story is lost in translation when the camera makes the novel visual. Gabriel Noone (Robin Williams in a fine, understated serious performance), a writer who reads the 'fiction of his life' on a late night talk show, is having a writer's block, due in part to his devastation of losing his AIDS ridden but stabilized lover Jess (Bobby Cannavale), having nursed him for years but now feeling discarded so that Jess can feel life again. A literary agent Ashe (Joe Morton) asks Gabriel to read a galley of a book written by a 14 year old boy Pete Logand ('Rory Culkin') who is describing his years of sexual abuse as a child and his current coping with AIDS in Wisconsin and is under the faster care of a social worker Donna (Toni Collette, once again proving there is no role she can't master!). Gabriel reads the book galley, and is fascinated by a story about a life that makes his own situation seem minor. He receives a call from Pete and subsequent calls from Donna and when he shares the story and events with Jess he is warned of a possible fraud. Does Pete really exist? It seems Gabriel needs to discover the truth and heads to Wisconsin where he meets the blind Donna but is unable to get in to see Pete. Where the story goes form there is important to leave unsaid, as the mystery must be kept intact for the individual viewer. Each of the cast turns in credible performances, not an easy feat when the line between illusion/delusion/reality is so tenuous. One character has been added - Anna (the always superb Sandra Oh) - and it is her analysis of the facts that holds much of the storyline together. The mood of the piece is perfectly captured by cinematographer Lisa Rinzler and music writer Peter Nashel. But credit director Patrick Stettner for pulling performances form Williams, Collette, Cannavale and Oh that represent some of their finest work on film. Grady Harp

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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