You never know who's listening.
Celebrity and psychosis collide to truly creepy effect in The Night Listener. Radio personality Gabriel Noone (Robin Williams) is asked to read an advance copy of a memoir by a boy who was horribly abused by his parents. Struck by the boy's story, Noone starts talking to him over the phone, gradually taking an almost parental interest in him--until someone suggests that the boy may not be exactly who he seems. Troubled, Noone flies to Wisconsin, where he meets the boy's social worker (Toni Collette, The Sixth Sense, In Her Shoes) and uncovers some alarming secrets. Don't let the vague, faux-literary title The Night Listener lead you astray; this is a horror movie and a very good one. There are no supernatural monsters or relentless axe-murderers, only a damaged, manipulative mind, which proves to be creepier than any serial killer. Williams gives an excellent, quirk-free performance, but it's Collette who gets under your skin and crawls around. She's vividly eerie, the sort of performance that can stick with you for days. Stealthy, surprising, and wonderfully acted all around--the movie also features Joe Morton (The Brother from Another Planet), Bobby Cannavale (The Station Agent), and Sandra Oh (Sideways)--The Night Listener is an unexpected gem. --Bret Fetzer