Night Listener, The
Entertainment: +1
Acceptability: -3

Robin Williams, Toni Collette, Sandra Ho, Rory Culkin. Drama/thriller. Written by Terry Anderson, Patrick Stettner, Armistead Maupin III. Directed by Patrick Stettner.

A late-night radio show host, struggling with a splintering gay relationship, strikes up a friendship with a dying teenager. The teen and his adoptive mom are seeking a publisher for the book of his short life. Abused and molested by his birth parents and left with a deadly sexual disease, his book is supposed to be filled with wise insights, a promising bestseller. However, as the radio guru gets deeper involved with the boy and his new mom via phone calls and emails, he begins to suspect that the book is a work of fiction and that the boy and his guardian may be the same person.

Part psychological thriller, part human drama, the story is overshadowed by its melodramatic tension. While it opens as a promising character study, it progresses into a farfetched fantasy, becoming increasingly solemn and fraught with more soap opera histrionics than an entire year of Days of Our Lives. The Williams character is a troubled soul, unhappy with his work, frustrated by his lover who needs his space, and alienated from his overbearing father. His life is unsettled and dark. The one ray of hope he gets from his new acquaintances becomes murky as his compulsive investigation into their lives proves to be another disturbing experience. Suddenly he has walked into a world even more joyless and troubled than his own.

Preview Reviewer: Phil Boatwright
Distributor: Miramax

Crude Language: None
Obscene Language: Around 25 obscenities, mostly the f-word, split between the male and female leads.
Profanity: 10 profanes uses of Jesus name and four uses of Gods name followed by a curse.
Violence: A man and woman are nearly struck by a truck; there is a threat of violence as the lead explores an abandoned house; we see flashbacks of sexual cruelty to a child. A man is zapped by angry cop with a stun gun.
Sexual Intercourse: We see two men kiss. They live together.
Nudity: None
Homosexual Conduct: The main character is gay. Though we do not see any sexual situations other than a kiss between two men; the relationship is central to the films major character.
Sexually Suggestive Action/Dialog: On several occasions, we hear discussions concerning homosexuality, some from a teen. Child porn is discussed, though it is gratefully discussed as an evil. A man buys a Playboy magazine for a teenager.
Drug Abuse: Several characters smoke.
Other: A very depressing film and one aimed at further cementing the gay lifestyle into the mainstream consciousness.
Running Time: 91 minutes
Intended Audience: Adults

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