The Listener

Steve Buscemi

Beth is a helpline volunteer, taking phone calls from people who are lonely, desperate or frightened. She turns out to have her own reasons for doing this intense work. Intimate drama by Steve Buscemi, taking its time to settle deep into your heart and mind.

Beth (Tessa Thompson) wakes up and fixes her coffee and breakfast. It is late – her night shift is about to begin. A whole night we stay with her while she answers phone calls from people who feel the need to talk. Often they are people that society has given up on. An army veteran who was traumatized during his service in Iraq. A bipolar woman who ‘can’t play society’s game’. A man feeling hurt and loathing women – but maybe himself even more. A woman contemplating suicide.

Beth is not supposed to talk about herself. She listens with compassion and empathy. She tries to connect and walk through the darkness alongside the callers. For some of them, the calls have life-changing consequences. And as the night progresses, we get to know more about Beth’s own life, and her reasons for doing this work.


Steve Buscemi
Wren Arthur, Oren Moverman
Country of production
United States
96 minutes
Spoken language
Production company
Olive Productions
World Sales
Bankside Films