Synopsis by Mark Deming
A man whose life has been touched by tragic illness is drawn into the life of another victim whose story has an unsettling twist in this drama. Gabriel Noone (Robin Williams) is a radio talk show host who has developed a loyal following for his deeply personal on-air monologues, many of which deal with his relationship with his companion Jess (Bobby Cannavale), who is HIV-positive and struggling with his health. When Jess' condition improves, he surprises Gabriel by announcing he needs his space and has decided to break up with him. Gabriel is shaken and feels creatively blocked until Ashe (Joe Morton), a friend in the publishing business, gives him an advance copy of a memoir by Pete Logand (Rory Culkin), a 14-year-old boy living with AIDS. Pete's book is a harrowing memoir of a childhood fraught with abuse of all sorts meted out at the hands of his parents, and Gabriel is deeply moved by his story. One night, Gabriel gets a phone call from Pete, who claims to be a big fan of his radio show, but the call is cut off by Donna (Toni Collette), Pete's stern and protective stepmother. While Gabriel admires Pete's book, he begins to question its veracity, and with the help of Anna (Sandra Oh) tries to research the facts behind the story. As he uncovers more loose ends, Gabriel begins to suspect that Pete isn't the true author of the work, and that Donna has created his terrible past in the name of literary celebrity. The Night Listener was adapted from the novel by Armistead Maupin.
abuse, AIDS, memoir, radio-personality, search, talk-radio, manuscript