THE NIGHT LISTENER
What You Know May Not Always Be So
Starring: Robin Williams, Toni Collette,
Rory Culkin, Sandra Oh, and
Runtime: 82 minutes
Distributor: Miramax Films/Buena Vista/Walt
Director: Patrick Stettner
Executive Producer: Michael Hogan, Armistead
Maupin, Terry Anderson,
Jonathan Sehring, and Caroline
Producer: Robert Kessel, Jeff Sharp,
John Hart, and Jill Footlick
Writer: Armistead Maupin, Terry
Anderson and Patrick Stettner
Address Comments To:Daniel Battsek, President
(A Division of Buena Vista Distribution Company/The Walt Disney Company)
375 Greenwich Street
New York, NY 10013
Phone: (323) 822-4100 and (917) 606-5500
Fax: (323) 822-4216
Based on an acclaimed novel by a homosexual author, THE NIGHT LISTENER is a fictionalized account of a real-life situation. The movie stars Robin Williams as Gabriel Noone, a colorful middle-aged public radio storyteller in San Francisco whose much younger homosexual lover of several years has left him. A publisher invites Gabriel to read a manuscript by a 14-year-old boy named Pete. According to the book, Pete's parents and their friends belonged to a sex cult that abused Pete as a child, giving Pete AIDS, and Pete's female social worker, Donna, has adopted him.
Gabriel is touched by the boy's sad story and begins an extended long-distance phone relationship with Pete and Donna. One day, after months of camaraderie, Gabriel's ex-partner, Jess, asks Gabriel if he's ever noticed how similar Pete and Donna's voices are. Gabriel begins to wonder if Pete is really Donna. He decides to track them down and find out for himself.
Despite the homosexual themes in THE NIGHT LISTENER, the movie delivers an important warning to everyone: Don't let other people, including the news media and politicians, take advantage of your emotions and preconceived notions. The movie also warns people about letting their desires and emotions blind them to reality.
Years ago, there was a woman in the Christian community who alleged that she belonged to a satanic cult that murdered babies in satanic rituals. Around the same time, there was a man in the Christian community who alleged that he used to belong to a witchcraft cult that tried to seduce people into witchcraft. The stories of these two people did not check out when investigated, yet many Christians still believe their phony stories. And, of course, today there are many alleged journalists and politicians who play on people's sympathies to get them to support ill-conceived, dangerous laws and massive government programs to help the homeless, send gobs of money to failed public schools, bring all American soldiers home from Iraq immediately, focus on one politically correct disease at the expense of other diseases that kill far more people, and protect homosexuals and "transgender" people from terrible "hate crimes." All of these examples show that we all need to apply a healthy dose of skepticism to any sensational, emotional story that fits easily into our ideology, theology, worldview, or most cherished notions.
THE NIGHT LISTENER is a well-produced cautionary tale with an important message. It does, however, have many references to the protagonist's homosexuality. Some of those references are extremely crude and excessive, and have a slight politically correct ideology, though political correctness is not a primary focus in the movie.
Despite its homosexual themes, THE NIGHT LISTENER delivers an important warning to everyone: Don't let other people, including the news media and politicians, take advantage of your emotions and preconceived notions. Some of the movie's homosexual references, however, are extremely crude and excessive, and have a slight politically correct ideology, though political correctness is not a primary focus.