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The Listener (Full Review)

There is something that is truly beautiful when there is a movie, that for the most part, has only one actor in it and is shot all in one location. These containment stories are usually story driven and have to create an emotional attachment to the viewer of the movie. Steve Buscemi is an artist in everything he does. It was really cool that he directed a new movie called The Listener. A movie that stars the incredibly talented Tessa Thompson (Creed). She plays Beth, who is a volunteer for a helpline, where she answers random phone calls from people who feel like they just need someone to listen. Although Tessa Thompson is in the front of center of the movie, there is some very recognizable voices on the other side of the telephone. The cast who phone in are Margaret Cho, Rebecca Hall and Logan Marshall-Green to name a few. Some really big names who have done so much prior. Which makes sense that this movie has that really well delivered dialogue. That is the main driving force of the movie, the dialogue. The Listener is a thought provoking drama that really exceed at all levels. It slowly pulls you in until it can't let you go. This movie hooks you into the situation immediately and you feel like a fly on the wall, listening in on these conversations. One movie that I think a lot of people will appreciate. A movie that really stands out.

Tessa Thompson is at a career high in this movie. She gives a very subtle, but extremely powerful performance. Her being the only one on screen, has a lot of the responsibility on her shoulders, to deliver this movie to its highest potential. In this movie, she tries her absolute best to stay neutral and professional helping everyone out. She introduces herself in the same way in many of the calls and keeps herself very calm and in a controlled manner. At first, this was a bit jarring, because it was weird to hear sound so robotic, but it quickly makes sense. There is a sense that she must detach herself from the individuals calling, but still be effective in helping them out. This type of work can not only take a physical toll on someone, but it can also be a lot mentally. She has to hear everyone's story and not all of their stories are happy. I would say that the majority of them isn't. That's why that helpline exists. As she listens to more and more stories throughout the night, you can tell that she is beginning to feel the emotional impact of each one. She then starts to lose her composure, as each story starts to hit home for her. I love that this movie highlights all these stories. It really shows what a lot of people are going through every single day. Beth in this story, is our look into the people who take these calls and the huge amount of pressure they go through as well. Tessa Thompson is phenomenal. She performed her butt off in this movie and it felt organic and real. It really felt like a day in the life of a helpline worker. Seeing her helping people really put a smile on my face. She truly cares about each person she talks to and really wants to help in any way she can. No matter who is on the other line, she invests in them and hears them out with as little judgement as she can.

The Listener has one of those stories that really opens your eyes on a topic more people need to know about. There are many great movies that showcase mental health and I love that they do. I think mental health is extremely important. There are so many people in this world who often feel isolated and alone. I have felt this myself and can relate. There is a huge up tick in depression, even more so, during and after the pandemic. The world is a difficult place and many people are going through so many different types of struggles. This movie really shows some great examples of what some of those struggles look like. People like Beth in the movie are true heroes. They volunteer their time to talk to these people and they can truly have a huge impact on their lives. Tessa Thompson's character has gone through a lot herself and the movie, little by little, tells us more about her character. It really explains why she does what she does and what really motivates her to do this job. Even why she decides to do this at night, knowing that's when there are the most calls that come in. The story is powerful and impacts you as the viewer, extremely emotionally. The Listener is a rare gem in this aspect. There are some funny moments, but the movie stays invested in the serious matter at hand. It talks about this matter very well too. It is very informative and insightful. It does it in a way that feels gritty at times, but also gives you a sense of hope. It delivers every emotion you can think of.

I really enjoyed The Listener. Steve Buscemi really picked a really great story to tell and exceeds in his goal. He creates this incredible environment, in the type of story he was trying to tell. I really appreciate that this is a movie he really wanted to make. There isn't that much going on, but the way he kept the camera rolling and cutting each scene together, made the movie feel well paced and crafted. This movie could have felt dull or boring, but it is far from that. The movie constantly keeps you on your toes with each new story. Tessa Thompson is a star without a doubt. It is her performance where we get all the emotional feelings from the movie. She is able to push through a very hard night of work and you can slowly see the toll it has on her. She showcases empathy the best. She feels real. Her character feels like she's been through so much in life and now just wants to help people, because of her history. I think movies like this one, is so important. Mental health, still to this day, has a stigma around it. Movies like this can really open up the conversation to those who feel the same way these callers are feeling. Listed below, will have a helpline number. For whoever is reading this, I hope you know that you are never ever alone. Also, major shoutout to the people who volunteer their time, to take a moment to listen to people. Sometimes, a person that listens to us, is all we need. Make sure to check this movie out. I think a lot of people will enjoy it. Out this Friday! In theaters and VOD.

Rating: 86/100

AMHSA’s National Helpline is a free, confidential, 24/7, 365-day-a-year treatment referral and information service (in English and Spanish) for individuals and families facing mental and/or substance use disorders.

If you or someone you know is struggling or in crisis, help is available. Call or text 988 or chat

988 offers 24/7 access to trained crisis counselors that provide free and

confidential support to people in suicidal crisis or emotional distress.​


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