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R
| | 1 hr 21 min | Mystery & Suspense, Drama

Gabriel Noone, a popular gay New York City radio show host, is dealing with a separation from his partner Jess. Noone is given a memoir written by teenager Peter Logand, who chronicles the many years of incest, child molestation, and rape he suffered at the hands of his parents and their friends. Diagnosed with AIDS, the youth has been adopted by the social worker who handled his case. Noone begins a telephone relationship with the boy and his mother Donna. He and Peter become increasingly close and form a father/son relationship, much to the dismay of Jess, especially after he speaks to Donna and suspects she and the boy are the same person. Noone's personal secretary Anna adds fuel to the fire by discussing her research into people who fabricate stories for attention or love. Determined to prove the boy exists and his story is true, Noone decides to pay a surprise visit to him in his hometown in rural Wisconsin. Noone discovers the return address on Peter's correspondence is actually a mail drop. Soon after, while eating in a local diner, he overhears another patron and recognizes her voice as that of Donna. He's stunned to learn she's blind and uses a guide dog. Noone follows her home and Donna senses he has followed her. She invites him into her home and talks openly about Peter, who she says is currently in the hospital undergoing tests. She assures him he can visit the boy the following day, then suddenly becomes angry and tells him she will not allow him to meet her son. Increasingly suspicious, Noone contacts all the hospitals in Madison, the site of the nearest facilities, but none have the boy registered as a patient. Gabriel's paranoia about the boy's existence grows and, hoping to find proof of his existence, he breaks into Donna's home. A police officer arrests him for breaking and entering and then, mistakenly believing he's a child molester from the boy's past, severely attacks him with a stun baton before taking him to the station. Noone convinces the police he meant no harm and is released, only to find Donna waiting for him with the news Peter has died and was staying in a Milwaukee hospital not one in Madison. Distressed that Noone isn't believing her, Donna collapses in the middle of a road and tries to hold him with her in the path of an oncoming truck. Her attempt to take their lives confirms Noone's suspicion that the boy is a figment of the deranged woman's imagination. Gabriel then shows up at a motel Donna was checking out of, since she moved everything out of her home before police could question her, and he uncovers a stuffed animal under a blanket. He plays a video tape of the suspected child, who could have been anyone (as stated by Jess in the scene that follows), while the phone rings. The caller claims to be the boy and is waiting for his mother at the airport. Gabriel asks some questions after finding out his mother lied about his death, but the caller says she/he has to go after Gabriel asked what happened in Donna's past and how she became blind. Gabriel returns to Manhattan and uses his experience to create The Night Listener, a new radio story. In the final scene, we see Donna searching for a new home in a coastal town, telling the Realtor she needs it for herself and her sick child, who has just lost his leg but will be released the next day. She has drastically changed her appearance and notably is no longer in need of a guide dog. Note: While passing Gabriel at the motel as he hid in the dark, she looks in his direction. Although blind people may have additional heightened senses, this signified before the end of the movie (the final scene) that she wasn't really blind as well and could see him all along (another ploy for attention).

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Stars
Robin Williams, Toni Collette, Bobby Cannavale, Joe Morton, Sandra Oh
Director
Patrick Stettner
Language
English
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