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"THE NIGHT LISTENER"
(2006) (Robin Williams, Toni Collette) (R)

Alcohol/
Drugs
Blood/Gore Disrespectful/
Bad Attitude
Frightening/
Tense Scenes
Guns/
Weapons
Heavy None Heavy Moderate Moderate
Imitative
Behavior
Jump
Scenes
Music
(Scary/Tense)
Music
(Inappropriate)
Profanity
Mild None Moderate None Extreme
Sex/
Nudity
Smoking Tense Family
Scenes
Topics To
Talk About
Violence
Heavy Minor Moderate Heavy Moderate


QUICK TAKE:
Drama/Suspense: A radio personality tries to determine whether a terminally ill fan of his is real, or is being made up by a disturbed woman looking for attention.
PLOT:
Gabriel Noone (ROBIN WILLIAMS) is a late-night talk radio personality who often discusses his personal experiences on air. That includes his recent break-up with his longtime gay lover, Jess (BOBBY CANNAVALE), who's had enough of Gabriel's inability to separate his personal and professional lives.

Accordingly, Gabriel has focused his energies on an out of town, teenage fan of his show, Pete (RORY CULKIN), who's looking to publish a book about his troubled upbringing, including child abuse, a bout with syphilis and now a terminal case of AIDS. When Pete's too tired to talk, his doting mom, Donna (TONI COLLETTE), stands in for him, informing Gabriel of what's occurring in their lives.

Gabriel hopes to see them over Christmas and get publisher Ashe (JOE MORTON) to work with Pete's manuscript, but Jess plants a seed of doubt when he informs his ex that he thinks Pete and Donna are the same person. When that Christmas trip is canceled, Gabriel begins to have his own suspicions. With the aide of his friend Anna (SANDRA OH), he then starts trying to figure out if Jess' statement is true, an investigation that soon learns to some startling discoveries.

WILL KIDS WANT TO SEE IT?
Some teenagers as well as anyone who's a fan of someone in the cast might be interested in it, but this doesn't seem likely to be a huge draw among other kids.
WHY THE MPAA RATED IT: R
For language and some disquieting sexual content.
CAST AS ROLE MODELS:
  • ROBIN WILLIAMS plays a gay radio personality who's reeling from Jess moving out from their long-term relationship when he begins to question whether Pete is real or just a made up character created by Donna for attention. He uses strong profanity, breaks some laws in his quest, and shares a joint with Anna.
  • TONI COLLETTE plays a blind woman who claims to have a terminally ill teenage boy, but always has an excuse about why Gabriel can't ever meet him in person. She uses strong profanity.
  • RORY CULKIN plays the boy represented as her terminally ill son (with AIDS). He uses some strong profanity.
  • SANDRA OH plays Gabriel's friend who tries to help him figure out whether Pete is real or not. She shares a joint with him and uses strong profanity.
  • BOBBY CANNAVALE plays Gabriel's long-time gay lover who's just recently moved out now that he believes he's not going to die from being HIV positive.
  • JOE MORTON plays a publisher who wants to get Pete's book published.
  • CAST, CREW, & TECHNICAL INFO

    HOW OTHERS RATED THIS MOVIE


    Curious if this title is entertaining, any good, and/or has any artistic merit?
    Then read OUR TAKE of this film.


    (Note: The "Our Take" review of this title examines the film's artistic merits and does not take into account any of the possibly objectionable material listed below).


    OUR WORD TO PARENTS:
    Here's a brief summary of the content found in this R-rated, dramatic thriller. Profanity consists of at least 23 "f" words, while other expletives and various colorful phrases are also uttered. Some sexually related dialogue is present, as is the brief sight of some nudity (breasts and butts), scantly clad people and some related cavorting, possibly related to pedophilia and/or pornography, but it's implied that some if not all of this was imagined (but it's still seen when it occurs). The protagonist is noted as being gay, but nothing more than a brief male-to-male good-bye kiss occurs.

    Violence consists of a cop using an electronic zapper on a man, while a few scenes later in the film might be unsettling or suspenseful to some viewers. Varying degrees of bad attitudes are present, two characters briefly share a joint, while some drinking and smoking also occur. Some tense family material is present, as are various thematic elements, including those related to homosexuality, AIDS, and other topics.

    If you're still concerned about the film and its appropriateness for yourself or anyone else in your home who may be interested in seeing it, we suggest that you take a closer look at our detailed listings for more specific information regarding the film's content.


    ALCOHOL OR DRUG USE
  • When Ashe meets Gabriel (who asks why he's there), Ashe says he thought he was going to buy him a drink.
  • We see an imagined view of young Pete peeking through a hole in the wall at his parents' underground party where people drink, among other things.
  • Gabriel and his father have drinks.
  • Miscellaneous people drink at a party.
  • A sign in a convenience store reads "Beer."
  • Gabriel shares a joint with Anna.
  • Gabriel, Ashe, and others have wine with dinner.
  • BLOOD/GORE
  • None.
  • DISRESPECTFUL/BAD ATTITUDE
  • Seeing Jess' friend or boyfriend (named Lucien), Gabriel jealously says, "I see you brought Lucifer."
  • About how his father would react to Anna, Gabriel says he'd call her a "cute little chink girl" and Anna says that's what she is.
  • After hearing that young teenager Pete hasn't had much luck with girls, Gabriel buys a Playboy magazine for him (but we never see the boy with it).
  • The term "faggot" is used to refer to male pedophiles.
  • Gabriel's father half-jokingly refers to him as "the little pr*ck." When his wife calls him on that, Gabriel's father says his son can handle it, with Gabriel half-jokingly saying, "I can handle big ones."
  • There's talk that Pete's parents abused him.
  • Gabriel lies to a woman on the plane and says that Pete is his son who lives with the boy's mother.
  • Gabriel breaks a window to enter Donna's place at night and snoop around.
  • Spoiler Alert: We learn that a person has made up an entire story to lead on someone else.
  • FRIGHTENING SCENES
  • Gabriel slowly walks through the dimly lit upstairs in Donna's house.
  • Gabriel sneaks into the pediatrics ward of a hospital in search of Pete. He finds a bald kid who then lets out a silent scream and Gabriel runs away as others briefly give chase.
  • Gabriel breaks a window to enter Donna's place at night. He snoops around, but then hears noises and sees a figure approaching with a flashlight (that then illuminates Gabriel who's trying to hide).
  • A law enforcement officer drives Gabriel out into the middle of a snowy field and slams on the breaks, causing Gabriel's face to hit the mesh divider between the seats. The cop then gets out, retrieves an electronic zapper, and proceeds to zap and shock Gabriel in the neck (thinking he's a pedophile after Pete).
  • Donna falls down in the middle of a road at night, upset at Gabriel. A truck is approaching and he goes to help her, but she pulls him down with her, not letting go. He must then drag her out of the way just as the truck passes them.
  • Gabriel gets a call from Donna to find something in a motel room. When he gets there, he hides in the shadows as she passes by (and briefly pauses to "look" in his direction - seen from his POV). He then goes into the room where he sees a body-sized lump under the bedcovers, but it's something else.
  • GUNS/WEAPONS
  • A law enforcement officer retrieves an electronic zapper, and proceeds to zap and shock Gabriel in the neck with it (thinking he's a pedophile after Pete).
  • We see a photo of a hunter holding a rifle.
  • IMITATIVE BEHAVIOR
  • Phrases: "Something's f*cked up with your fuse box," "I don't f*cking believe it," "You just f*cking have to," "She's f*cking right," "F*ck it," "You're such a f*cking weirdo," "This f*cked up place," "Give me a f*cking break," "You sick f*cks," "A great f*cking story," "You heartless f*ck," "F*cking crazy," "F*ck her," "No f*cking way," "Sh*tty," "That's such bullsh*t," "You know sh*t about," "I'm too old for this sh*t," "Roberta blows" (sexual), "D*ck smoker," "The little pr*ck," "I see you brought Lucifer," "Screwed up," "What the hell are you doing?" "Cute little chink girl" (what Gabriel says his father would call Anna, with her agreeing that's what she is), "Creeps," "That sucks," "Use your damn head," "Jesus H..." "Faggot," "What kind of new age crap is that?" "Dude," "What the hell's that supposed to mean?" "You're such an asshole," "The hell of it is..." "Why are you pissed at me?" and "Shut up."
  • It's possible the film could inspire some kids to make up a story and call it in to a radio station or otherwise try to fool others with it.
  • A man has some tattoos on his body.
  • JUMP SCENES
  • None.
  • MUSIC (SCARY/TENSE)
  • A moderate amount of suspenseful and ominous music plays in the film.
  • MUSIC (INAPPROPRIATE)
  • None.
  • PROFANITY
  • At least 23 "f" words, 9 "s" words, 5 slang terms using male genitals ("d*ck" and "pr*ck"), 4 hells, 3 damns, 1 ass (used with "hole"), 1 crap, 5 uses of "Jesus," 2 each of "G-damn" and "Oh my God" and 1 use each of "God" and "Oh Jesus."
  • SEX/NUDITY
  • During the opening credits, there are various kaleidoscope images, including that of bare breasts (the images are small, moving, and briefly seen).
  • We see an imagined view of young Pete peeking through a hole in the wall at his parents' underground party where people drink, couples are close together, and some nudity is present (one woman's bare butt, another's bare breasts, while others are seen in bras or panties -- all brief and partially obscured images). There's also talk of blindfolds and his parents selling the tapes (presumably pornographic), but we later doubt any of this occurred.
  • Pete says that graffiti on the town water tower reads, "Roberta blows." When he says that the town tried to remove that, it was put back, prompting Gabriel to joke, "She must really blow."
  • Pete jokingly refers to Gabriel as a "d*ck smoker."
  • After hearing that Pete hasn't had much luck with girls, Gabriel buys a Playboy magazine for him (the cover shows a woman holding something over her presumably nude body, but we don't see any nudity). We later see this image again, when Gabriel finds the magazine under a mattress, but we never see the boy with it.
  • Gabriel's father half-jokingly refers to him as "the little pr*ck." When his wife calls him on that, Gabriel's father says his son can handle it, with Gabriel half-jokingly saying, "I can handle big ones."
  • When Gabriel says Jess is "fixing my fuse box" (meant literally), Pete jokes over the phone that he doesn't want to know what that means.
  • SMOKING
  • A few miscellaneous characters smoke.
  • We see a cigarette vending machine in a motel.
  • TENSE FAMILY SCENES
  • Donna says that Pete has AIDS and only a short time to live (and says he had syphilis when he was eight).
  • Gabriel and his father don't get along. Gabriel's father half-jokingly refers to him as "the little pr*ck." When his wife calls him on that, Gabriel's father says his son can handle it, with Gabriel half-jokingly saying, "I can handle big ones."
  • There's talk that Pete's parents abused him.
  • Donna says she was two when her mom died.
  • Donna says that Pete died, but Gabriel no longer believes anything she says.
  • TOPICS TO TALK ABOUT
  • Gabriel says that Jess moved out, and we think he means his wife, but it turns out he's referring to his longtime live-in gay lover.
  • Donna says that Pete has AIDS and only a short time to live (and says he had syphilis when he was eight).
  • We hear that Jess was HIV positive, but is doing better now.
  • Gabriel and his father don't get along.
  • Homosexuality - Gabriel and Jess are ex-gay lovers and we briefly see them kiss goodbye.
  • AIDS.
  • People who make up things to elicit sympathy from others.
  • Blindness.
  • There's talk that Pete's parents abused him.
  • The comment that we're only as loved as we think we are.
  • The comment that reality isn't how one was made, but rather what happens to you.
  • VIOLENCE
  • Gabriel hurts his ankle or leg while fleeing in a hospital stairwell.
  • Gabriel breaks a window to enter Donna's place at night.
  • A law enforcement officer drives Gabriel out into the middle of a snowy field and slams on the breaks, causing Gabriel's face to hit the mesh divider between the seats. The cop then gets out, retrieves an electronic zapper, and proceeds to zap and shock Gabriel in the neck (thinking he's a pedophile after Pete).



  • Reviewed June 14, 2006 / Posted August 4, 2006

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