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The Night Listener - A Movie Review

by Marielle Sabbag about a month ago in review
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'The Night Listener' is a compelling story that sticks with you.

That voice you hear on the phone could be anyone.

Following true events, The Night Listener is a 2006 film. During a breakup, Gabriel is contacted by a young boy claiming he is a big fan of his podcast. All conversations happening via telephone, Gabriel speculates this boy's true identity.

I watched The Night Listener a while ago and I am so glad that I found it again. The late Robin Williams will forever be remembered for his roles, particularly this one. This is an underrated film that deserves to be talked about more, especially considering the subject matter. Based on true events, The Night Listener is a creepy story that stays with you.

The late Robin Williams was an impressive actor. The ranges that he could pull off, comedic or serious were incredible. Gabriel is a lonely man, lurking for something more. Williams was the driving force of the film, even finding little moments of comedy.

Persistent in fact-checking everything about this strange case, Gabriel does not have an easy time throughout this film. His detective work went overboard in some cases, like trespassing a hospital, but we’ve all had relatable instances where someone has led us on.

I have said it countless times, and I will keep saying it, Toni Collette is an amazing actress. Playing a rather perturbed woman, Collette’s performance disturbed me. Paying valid attention to her voice, expressions, and the eerie way she moved around, Collette does a fantastic job. Williams and Collette were excellent in their scenes.

Including a small cast of actors, Rory Culkin, Joe Morten, Bobby Cannavale, and Sandra Oh did a terrific job. A small ensemble was included as members of the town. Their responses and behavior to Gabriel are important when he is asking about Peter.

The execution of Peter (Culkin) was kept mysterious. For his minimal appearance, I liked the friendship he created with Gabriel. I have been arguing about whether it was necessary to see Pete in his scenes, but looking back on it now, it was.

As disturbing as The Night Listener is, we need more films like this. There are stories that are too difficult to put into words. Viewers are tested on what is real and what’s fabricated.

Patrick Stettner attained the unsettling tone of this story. An unstable ambiance is discerned in every scene. Inserting creative ideas and edits, he did a good job of absorbing wide angles of this haunting story. The mood was well-achieved.

The exteriors of towns and indoor locations played agreeably with the mood. Nothing feels safe. Everything feels cold and somber. The solitude feels uncomforting to the silence.

The pacing was slow which may turn off some viewers. Not much happens when we’re following Gabriel around several locations doing his detective work. Its focus isn’t completely grounded. The Night Listener contains a couple of subplots. Various holes are left in the plot mainly due to the ambiguity of the whole situation.

The story's subplots don’t tie in together very well. The grappling relationship between Gabriel and Jess (Cannavale) could have been trimmed. It does convey that any issues you have will get better over time. The film felt too much like a romance drama than the actual story that took place.

Watch The Night Listener. The Night Listener is a compelling story that will stick with you long after the movie is over. Believe me, I watched it seven years ago and the film lurks in my mind, raising questions. Also, it’s a film that carries the life of the talented Robin Williams.

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About the author

Marielle Sabbag

Writing has been my passion since I was 11 years old. I love creating stories from fiction, poetry, fanfiction. I enjoy writing movie reviews. I would love to become a creative writing teacher and leave the world inspiring minds.

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Comments (1)

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  • Michele Hardyabout a month ago

    Thank you for sharing this! I'd never heard of this movie before and I love Robin Williams' more serious work like "One Hour Photo." Can't wait to watch this!

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