“The Listener,” focused on a peer crisis hotline worker, is a stirring, frustrating, and potentially tear-inducing film.


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Film Summary

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“Beth” has been a peer crisis hotline worker for a few years and is taking a much-needed break. But, before that happens, she has another shift to go through featuring a cop, a veteran, a newly unemployed teacher, and the type of man who likely triggered Beth needing a break.

Character Descriptions

Please Note: This character guide is not an exhaustive list of every cast member, and character descriptions may contain what can be considered spoilers.

Beth

After a life that includes losing someone to suicide, drugs, imprisonment, and more, Beth has found herself trying to be a peer advocate for those who need to talk. It could be because of loneliness, mental illness, needing someone to talk them through a decision, or anything. All of which she does, sometimes with a utensil in hand as she draws the person or what they are focusing on.

  • The Actor Is Also Known For: Her Role In “Passing” her role in the “Thor” Franchise, and her role in the “Creed” franchise.

Laura

Laura, a professor who just has been fired, is not angry and lashing at the world, but is questioning what is left to live for?

Review

Our Rating: Positive (Worth Seeing)Recommended

Notable Performances or Moments

Laura’s Phone Call

While many of the phone calls allow you to understand what Beth is going through, both the emotional labor, the frustration, and even helplessness, it’s Laura’s Phone call that hits the hardest. She is a former sociology teacher who, with a divorce and lonely existence, is burdened by a level of intelligence that makes life and the future seem miserable.

What makes her different and worth singling out is that she is the longest phone call and one of Beth’s most challenging. Beth can’t give simple answers or throw out some number or group contact information. She has to be fully engaged, ready to reveal pieces of herself and potentially know the wrong thing, or delivering a cliché, could be the last straw that breaks the camel’s back.

But, let it be clear, it isn’t the potential of suicide that makes Laura notable but her thoughts on life and the world. Yes, she is deeply pessimistic, but it is through her that Beth is forced to reconcile who she was with who she wants to be and dig into the feelings she may have long suppressed in order to reach this person on a genuine level and use her own story to give Laura some reason for hope.

Highlights

The Diversity Of The Calls

From an incel who sometimes seems like he could be saved to a veteran who needs a different perspective, Beth’s phone calls are all over the place. This helps immensely over the run time, for you never know what you may get. You may get someone with a mental illness, having an episode, and no desire to talk to a doctor. There is a homeless girl who has a potentially abusive boyfriend. It is just a wonderful mix from start to end.

How Tessa Thompson Keeps You Engaged

While Thompson doesn’t reveal much until her conversation with Laura, till then, she isn’t just a soundboard. As the medium, she guides us and controls our reactions. Her giving people grace, the questions asked, and how she shifts your perception of each caller keeps you from damming them. Which for some, believe me, it is notably difficult, yet, through Thompson, you see and get the kind of understanding, or at least desire to understand, that most people yearn for.

General Information

Director(s) Steve Buscemi
Screenplay By Alessandro Camon
Based On N/A
Date Released (Film Festival – Tribeca Film Festival) June 11, 2023
Genre(s) Drama
Film Length 1 Hour 36 Minutes
Content Rating Not Rated
Noted Characters and Cast
Beth Tessa Thompson
Laura Rebecca Hall

Things To Note

Why Is “The Listener” Rated Not Rated

  • Dialog: Cursing
  • Violence: Only In Dialog
  • Sexual Content: Discussion About Sexual Assault
  • Miscellaneous: General conversations about matters that are sensitive, like suicide, revenge porn, and assault

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FAQs

Why Is the Film Called “The Listener?”

For Beth’s job is to listen to people, which is what she does throughout the entire film

How Was The Twist(s) and Ending?

There isn’t a twist, and the ending is simple – Beth finishes her shift after a rather lengthy call and walks her dog

Is There A Mid-Credit or Post Credits Scene?

No

Beth (Tessa Thompson)
The Listener (2023) – Movie Review and Summary (with Spoilers)
Overall
Tessa Thompson somehow figures a way to keep a film in which she is the sole actor present, speaking to a series of others, a compelling film.
Highlights
Laura's Phone Call
The Diversity Of The Calls
How Tessa Thompson Keeps You Engaged
Disputable
86

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