The Listener (2022) Review — Empathetic and Thoughtful

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The Listener has had a long and winding journey to its late March 2024 release. The movie, opening in theaters and available on video-on-demand tomorrow, is genuinely moving. Much of that credit should go to the director and actor, who seem in sync in tone and highlight an exploration of compassion and empathy.

Tessa Thompson delivers a terrific performance in The Listener, taking the viewer on a journey that’s fulfilling. Director Steve Buscemi coaxes out a cinematic experience that seems to aim to build a therapeutic rapport with its audience. This results in a “bottle” film with only one cast member, whom you can’t pull your eyes away from.

Tessa Thompson in The Listener (2022) | Image via Vertical EntertainmentTessa Thompson in The Listener (2022) | Image via Vertical Entertainment
Tessa Thompson in The Listener (2022) | Image via Vertical Entertainment

Also Read: Thor’s Tessa Thompson Reacts To Potential Captain Marvel & Valkyrie Romance

The Listener’s Synopsis and Review

Tessa Thompson stars as Beth, a woman who works the night shift to operate a helpline for individuals experiencing mental stress. This being a movie, Beth is given a buffet of various callers and problems. (It reminded me of when Roger Ebert commented how, in Twister, the storm chasers had a “real good day,” to say the least.)

You have a veteran suffering from PTSD and cannot explain what is happening to them. A woman who is going through a manic episode of Bipolar depression without medication. A misogynist teenager who seems to hate women that they cannot seem to pinpoint that pushes Beth to her limits. Finally, a paroled ex-con who is unable to find work.

Tessa Thompson in The Listener (2022) | Image via Vertical EntertainmentTessa Thompson in The Listener (2022) | Image via Vertical Entertainment
Tessa Thompson in The Listener (2022) | Image via Vertical Entertainment

Also Read: Michael B. Jordan Went Through Couples Therapy With Tessa Thompson After Lori Harvey Breakup For Creed 3

Tessa Thompson Commands the Screen!

The Listener is a throwback to a type of film that gained prominence during the COVID-19 pandemic. Considering the movie has been stuck in development hell since being filmed three years ago, it’s not hard to see why. While this may seem out of place now, the film is a prime example of loneliness with complete sincerity and little melodrama because it’s handled with such a deft touch.

Audiences are more mature now, and Buscemi’s film may not have been appreciated amid such mental health disorders. The movie was written by Alessandro Camon, who received an Academy Award nomination for Best Original Screenplay for The Messenger. His thoughtful script consistently maintains a subdued tone and an empathetic heart.

Tessa Thompson in The Listener (2022) | Image via Vertical EntertainmentTessa Thompson in The Listener (2022) | Image via Vertical Entertainment
Tessa Thompson in The Listener (2022) | Image via Vertical Entertainment

Also Read: “I was dying to see that relationship on the big screen”: MCU Finally Addresses Relationship Between Brie Larson’s Captain Marvel and Tessa Thompson’s Valkyrie

Is The Listener Worth Watching?

The Listener is worth watching because of the surprising character development and the lead performance. The script’s use of slight misdirection allows Thompson’s one-woman show to shine. It’s often said that acting involves listening and reacting. Watch as Thompson is always in the moment, responding to the stimuli of mental anguish to deliver an authentic performance and forge a human connection.

Thompson’s Beth takes in each caller, and you learn how committed a therapist or counselor needs to be to develop a therapeutic alliance under such circumstances and in such a short period. In a social media world where everyone demands to be heard, how refreshing is it when director Steve Buscemi makes a film about those who want to listen?

Tessa Thompson in The Listener (2022) | Image via Vertical EntertainmentTessa Thompson in The Listener (2022) | Image via Vertical Entertainment
Tessa Thompson in The Listener (2022) | Image via Vertical Entertainment

What did you think of the film The Listener? Let us know in the comments below!

You can watch The Listener in theaters and video on demand.

7/10

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