In reading other reviews of this film, it seems that many were looking for something more visceral than what the film delivered. I find this ridiculous when the fascinating thing about the story is that its mysteries are rooted in its characters and not trumped up drama. The film ends in a satisfying way that stays true to the characters and doesn’t rely on typical thriller histrionics.
In little over 80 minutes, the film develops three solid characters. Gabriel Noone (Robin Williams, GOOD MORNING VIETNAM) is a radio performer who reads tales on air gleaned from his life. He’s miserable due to the recent break up of his relationship with the younger Jess (Bobby Cannavale, THE STATION AGENT), who wants to embrace life more fully after a recent reprieve from his AIDS. Then publisher Ashe (Joe Morton, TERMINATOR 2) brings a manuscript to Gabriel to read. It’s a harrowing true tale of abuse written by 14-year-old Pete Logand (Rory Culkin, YOU CAN COUNT ON ME). Gabriel is so moved by the boy’s tale that he calls him and begins a close phone relationship with Pete and his blind adoptive mother Donna (Toni Collette, THE SIXTH SENSE). Then one day Jess hears Pete’s voice and questions whether Pete and Donna are not one in the same. As his housekeeper Anna (Sandra Oh, SIDEWAYS) helps him look for proof of Pete’s existence, Gabriel tries to hold on to hope that he hasn’t been duped. An eventual visit to see Pete in person begins to reveal the ramifications of Donna’s own problems.