Newest Review: ... is about a late night radio host(played by robin williams) who recieves a call from his biggest fan, a young boy who is now living with an ... more
Make your own mind up about this - Warning - storyline analysed - spoilers present
The Night Listener (DVD)
Member Name: IzzyS
The Night Listener (DVD)
Date: 12/11/10, updated on 12/11/10 (49 review reads)
Advantages: Definitely thought provoking, based on real life events, not a long movie
Disadvantages: The end will be a big let down to some I'd imagine, not too dramatic as such, rather dreary
- Side Note -
If you really hate spoilers then you might prefer to skip this review, you could claim that I pretty much give away the main story of this movie but, as I mention later in my review, I feel its better if people have more knowledge about the plot as it should give you a better idea whether you'd be interested in it or whether you'd feel very let down and disappointed by it - so thats my excuse(!). I hope this is ok... feel free to leave me a comment if you don't agree, I could always re-type this review if many people think it should be necessary - thanks.
- Cast/Credits -
- Story -
The Night Listener tells the story of Gabriel Noone, a psychiatrist who hosts a radio show which a teenage boy (Logan) listens to and he feels compelled to phone him at home after the show finishes. Gabriel becomes quite close to this boy who, it turns out, has AIDS and has lived a particularly rough life and he wants Gabriel to help write/publish his autobiography. However, his mother often cuts in to the telephone conversations he has with him and in time others around Gabriel starts to question Logans identity, so Gabriel decides to travel to his hometown and attempt to meet up with him face to face but when he gets there, it turns out that this isn't as simple as he'd hoped. Is everything as it seems? can anything be proved either way and what about the mother? was Logan protected with a different name or was this all a massive hoax? ultimately there are some clues in the movie but its up to you to make your own decisions.
- Thoughts & Opinions -
This is a rather intriguing movie in one sense and a rather tired and muddled one, so to speak, in another. It seems that Robin Williams has been keen on starring on movies such as this over the last decade or so, this being a psychological drama/thriller, where 'all is not what it seems'. That may be being a little dramatic as its hardly a movie in which you'll find yourself shocked and gasping at any regular interval, instead its a rather dark movie set in the murky world of possible half-truths and that questions the motive of someone who has perhaps alot to gain from a book deal.
In the scene where Gabriel's friend/housekeeper explains that she thinks the mother could have a particular medical condition which is similar to Munchausen Byproxy, I could hear myself almost finishing her sentence as the Munchausen name reared its head *again*. I sometimes wonder if there isn't some specific fascination with the media, in TV and movies regarding this condition - I mean how many documentaries, dramas and the like have you seen that have some element, or an episode with a plot including something to do with someone with Munchausen or suspected Munchausen Byproxy syndrome? I feel like this is starting to become tacky almost, somehow. Its not to say that it isn't a genuine condition but in a way its perhaps a little like memory loss, how often are there convenient storylines involving people who wake up in hospital or someplace else and they can't remember who they are? in reality, from what I've been led to believe, its very rare for people to suffer complete memory loss like this - it tends to be that people suffer a more temporary short term memory loss and a longer memory loss in terms of events happening right before whenever they were knocked out or whatever caused the concussion and memory loss, from the little I've seen or read about this.
Of course I can't say what the outcome of the movie is and it would be unfair to say that the entire movie is about somebody who is outed as having Munchausen, indeed that term is only mentioned once in the movie and during the movie, there's surprisingly little in terms of people really interacting with the mother let alone diagnosing her. Really the outcome is left to the viewer, ultimately you have to, I suppose, be like Gabriel and come to your own conclusions.
In a sense, it makes me think about people that I've been in contact with through the internet, infact I'd be surprised if there isn't anyone who regularly uses the internet to meet and talk to people living far away, who haven't lost touch with someone or who at some point, wondered about what they had told them, wondered about this other person and whether to take at face value what their being told. I don't think that its necessarily fair to write everyone off (ie as being liars or someone completely different to whom they claim to be) so to speak, of course and again I'm not saying that I'd even agree with Gabriel thinking that Peters situation is all in the mother's head (ultimately its up to the viewer to come to their own conclusions) but then again I suppose I like to believe in things more than others maybe(?) if you know what I mean.
I felt that this movie was quite dark and sad and it leaves you wondering, so it is a rather unsatisfying movie if that makes any sense, although in a way perhaps its a relief that this is a Hollywood movie without that obligatory Hollywood ending - it maybe depends on what you prefer, whether or not your going to like this.
I apologise if you feel like I've given away too much of this movie but there again, I think it should help give you a better idea what the movie is about and if you don't like the sound of where the plot goes (and spends most of its time trying to determine) then you'll know to steer clear of it. If you find the subject matter rather intriguing or fascinating and you'd like to find out more, see what Gabriel discovers and the characters involved so you can come to your own conclusions, then by all means you should watch it and make what you will of it.
I should say that this movie, at least the version I watched which I recorded from TV (It was shown on BBC1 at night recently) was only an hour and a quarter long, which is really quite short by modern day film standards - I thought this was quite a good length of time actually, had it continued much longer it would very much be dragging on and getting more slow and depressing I'd imagine but had it been any shorter, that would be barely movie length, I suppose, so I quite like that it was a shorter length movie.
- Would I Recommend It? -
This can often be a difficult question to answer, such as in times like this. I think it depends - there will be those that find it intrguing, fascinating, even anti-Hollywood (bravo!), although with Robin Williams and a Culkin actor in it, I suppose its a bit laughable to say that but all the same... for people who find the concept behind it and the fact that it is, even if loosely, based on real life events, fascinating, then I'd say its worth seeing so you can make your own mind up regarding the story (though how close it is to what happened I couldn't say) but for most others, no I don't think I would recommend it and going back to basics as a general thriller/drama movie, I don't think its particularly good. I feel that its quite a dark movie that is a bit confusing and the ending could be a real let down for some, the pace is a bit slow and it could confuse people too, so all in all, no I don't think I would recommend it, only to those that have a specific interest in the events and the story behind it, just don't expect a great deal from it, certainly no major answers.
Overall I'd rate this as somewhere between satisfactory and good, again a 3.5 rating would probably be more fair but as it stands, considering there isn't one, overall I'm going to go for a 3 star rating.
Thanks for reading my review, I hope you found it useful. Many thanks for all r/r/c's, their much appreciated. This review was originally posted on Ciao UK.
Summary: A movie that will keep you guessing but don't expect too many answers...