Stutterer (2015) Poster


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This is why I love Short Films . . .
evbaby9 February 2016
A man who loves words but can't speak them has to finally meet his on-line girlfriend.

That's a set-up for a full length rom-com, yet it takes care of business in just 12 minutes (as I wish most modern rom-coms would). It's a fine example of story-telling with maximum economy. This is what the best of Short Films do and "Stutterer" is one of the best, among this year's Oscar nominees at least (I'd put it a close second to "Day One").

Like a haiku or a sonnet, the short film can serve to distill a subject to it's essence. "Stutterer" is a fine example of the form. Bravo!
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Moving film with a deceptive twist
rodneymackinnon20 February 2016
Warning: Spoilers
I loved this movie. It's a poignant story of a young man struggling with a severe stutter. He's isolated by his inability to communicate normally. One of the few glimmers of hope is an online, text-only relationship with a woman. When she surprises him with a request to meet up, his safe little prison he's built for himself is suddenly thrown off kilter. As a stutterer myself, I was really moved by the little touches and insights in the movie - the rehearsing of lines, the struggles with phone calls etc.. Even how the man teaches himself sign language and pretends to be deaf as a way to communicate. I tried this myself.

SPOILER - The ending, however, was my favorite part. The woman he finally meets up with is deaf and she signs to him. If you don't stutter, you probably think "aw, that's sweet, what a perfect pair."

The sad reality though, that you know if you stutter, is that it's incredibly difficult to read stutterer's lips. The motions are wrong or repeated. And some stutterers intentionally move their lips differently then normal people to make sounds in an effort to work around their affliction. So he'll have to keep using sign language - this sad little crutch he has for himself. He'll probably give up on trying to talk and just act as if he's a deaf mute. It's a little twisted, and, in my opinion, brilliant.
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Good...but not among my favorite of the Oscar nominees
MartinHafer30 January 2016
This film is about a young man who stutters. His stutter is not a minor stutter but debilitating. He often has difficulty even talking out loud to others and has even pretended to be deaf in order to prevent him having to talk out loud. However, he's had an online relationship with a girl for many months and when she tells him that she's coming to London and wants to see him, he's in a panic. What is he to do? She has no idea that he's a stutterer and he's very apprehensive to writer her back at all. What is he to do?

As a father of a deaf daughter, I found it fascinating watching the main character practicing British Sign Language--a system that is surprisingly very little like American Sign Language. It appeared to be done well...which I appreciate. My biggest reason for not being so enthusiastic about this film isn't because the short is poorly made--it's quite good. But I saw another short this year that was very, very similar except that instead of struggling with stuttering, the main character struggled with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder when going out on a blind date.

UPDATE: It really surprised me but this film took the Oscar.
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Light-hearted and slightly tragic - a winning blend
StevePulaski24 February 2016
If Everything Will Be Okay is this year's most favorable Oscar-nominated live action short, then Stutterer is a close runner-up with its light-hearted, albeit slightly tragic, narrative about a man who's thoughts in his head are crystal-clear but the words out of his mouth are shaky and lack confidence. The short revolves around a lonely typographer named Greenwood (Matthew Needham), who has struggled with enunciation and basic communication all his life due to his stammer, to the point where it's easier to use sign language than to even try to muster up the strength to communicate - let alone have the other party be patient enough to hear him out. He makes the street-corner preacher in Spike Lee's Do the Right Thing sound like a public speaker.

Greenwood has spent most of his days on Facebook, communicating with a woman he's been in an online relationship with for six months. He desperately wants to meet her, but knows she'll be disappointed. In his head, his words flow perfectly, with a buttery consistency and melodic depth that makes his presence assertive. Despite this, it takes Greenwood a good forty-five seconds to get eight words out and we can see the mental hopscotch and exhaustion it takes just to get those eight words out of his mouth.

Benjamin Cleary doesn't position Stutterer in a way that makes us sob or even tear up at Greenwood's situation, largely because he creates a character and not a vessel that demands manipulative sympathy. He wants us to see Greenwood as a person, with deep thoughts and ideas, rather than an empty soul manufactured so we can have someone to look down upon and feel sorry for. It's also arguably the most tonally consistent short film of the lot, largely because of its brevity and its very simplistic structure and makeup (very direct, straight-shot sequences with many close-ups and bust shots making for a very serviceable look).

With that, Stutterer becomes a beautiful little romance, and actually has the weight and potential to turn into a charming, full-length feature similar to Shawn Christensen's Oscar-winning short Curfew and its eventually evolution into the terrific film Before I Disappear in 2013.
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"Stutterer"…Short but Sweet Story of the Search for Love
jtncsmistad-8268931 December 2015

The task of any Short Film is to seize the viewer's attention in literally a matter of seconds, at once inspiring and sustaining an emotional connection with the story and it's characters. It is a most formidable undertaking indeed. I'm here to declare that Writer/Director Benjamin Cleary's 2015 British production "Stutterer" succeeds in not only meeting, but surpassing, this genuinely daunting mandate.

In an instant I felt the helpless frustration that Greenwood projects as he struggles with all of his might to convert the ever flowing thoughts in his head to bear upon his tongue and lips. But he can't. I found it consistently gripping and, moreover, painful to behold this roundly riveting performance which Matthew Needham (The BBC's "Casualty") gifts to us in the title role of "Stutterer".

A couple of quibbles if you'll allow. I found it a bit difficult to understand how an adult man with at least one apparently caring parent could not have received at least a measure of effective therapy for his severe affliction at some point in his life. And as the movie drew to conclusion I had already anticipated how it was likely going to end, my hunch proving accurate.

Still, these amount to but minor distractions in an otherwise richly satisfying and touching story, one that is ultimately of a lonely soul's search for his kindred sweet spirit.

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A Stutter Step Into a Bigger Discussion
japabst10 November 2017
Warning: Spoilers
The 2016 Oscar Winning short, The Stutterer, follows main character Greenwood, a stuttering typographer, who navigates his life struggling with the anxieties brought on from both his stutter and his crush on his Internet friend, Ellie. This overt plot line at first appears to be the only plot line, yet this explanation fails to account for several aspects of the film that revolve around Greenwood's disability. Every aspect of a film is intentionally placed by the director and the love story narrative doesn't seem to cover every aspect. Therefore, this film attempts to use a "boy-meets-girl" archetype to attain a deeper social commentary on the realities of living with a disability, and while it is successful in some aspects, the final product ultimately falls short of its goal.

This film's accuracy depicts a society that on the outside appears to be accessible to and understanding of individuals with disabilities, but in reality are methods that further ostracize those individuals from assimilating into an "able bodied" society. The conflict between Greenwood and his billing company aptly recognizes the discrepancy in what society states versus their actions. Throughout the film Greenwood struggles to settle a problem with his billing while Facebook messaging Ellie as a mechanical voice states, "Your call is important to us" a total of six times throughout the film. Their notion of his so-called importance is juxtaposed with the reality that even when his father calls on behalf of him, the company is not helpful. A key element into my initial suspicion of a bigger social commentary was the father himself. I found him odd to be included in a love story, especially because he doesn't particularly arc except to demonstrate his frustration on behalf of his son compared to his lack of frustration with his son.

The thread of sign language throughout the film manages to move the plot along in interesting ways, but it also alludes to a social view on what is seen as acceptable disabilities. Greenwoods decision to use sign language to navigate his town is one that is based in the highly stigmatized nature of stuttering compared to deafness. The first disability can generate irritation or even fear while deafness often generates pity as seen in the film more than once. While neither of these emotions are ideal, one is arguably better than the other.

The arc of many of the characters also revolves around Greenwood's disability. Greenwood himself arcs after his attempt to use sign language and while he has temporary relief from the fear of attempting to speak and stuttering, it gives him no satisfaction because it doesn't really change anything about him or his circumstances. He takes his frustration towards not being able to change society and uses it to motivate himself to face other aspects of his life that he is in control of.

This film also attempts to call attention to preconceived notions society has about those who stutter; the voice over dialogue channeling Greenwood's head throughout the entire film is being used to disprove the notion that individuals with a stutter are simply not smart enough to talk. Greenwood's brief fight with a stranger is another allusion to how society considers those with a disability. Despite showing his strength in the previous scene, getting over some of anxieties about messaging Ellie, he is still seen to those around him as weaker than an "able-bodied" individual.

Despite these positive characteristics, the film does fall short of its goal in certain aspects. This is director Benjamin Cleary's first film and while this film is impressive for a first attempt, he does fall short on the film's resolution. One of the problems with the resolution is that the foreshadowing executed throughout the film gives the ending away. There are many instances in which interaction between Greenwood and Ellie as well as Greenwood and society correlate to the ending scene.

Another problem I have with the resolution is that it caused the social commentary that is woven throughout the entire film to be somewhat anti-climatic and irrelevant. The cliché storyline is so overt that it completely overshadows every other aspect of the film and creates a complacency that prevents engaging in the film for a closer look at is more subliminal message. However there is also fault in the attempts at social commentary as well. Cleary aptly identifies the society views and actions towards a stuttering disability, yet he fails to make good on the "commentary" portion of social commentary. The film ends up having social reporting instead of a deep commentary about the problem with societal views and actions. The film's take away almost being like a PSA, something that alerts one to something but doesn't go out of its way to change it.

Overall the film is unfortunately underwhelming because the love story plot is simply too cliché and overt to really appreciate the film's attempt at a more subliminal message. The overt plot line of "boy-meets-girl" outshines any of the covert social commentary made and this is done largely to its predictably included by the poor foreshadowing. The film raises the awareness to a prevalent occurrence in society, yet I wish it would have lead to a stronger conclusion than "love conquers all" which I feel was far too sappy for such a serious issue. Despite my misgivings, the film is sweet and a fun feel-good film and while I wish the ending would have been both different and more surprising, I would give this film a rating as 7 out of 10 frustrating phone calls to billing companies.
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Engaging the audience, good pick by the Academy
Horst_In_Translation15 March 2016
Warning: Spoilers
"Stutterer" is a 13-minute live action short film from last year that won writer and director Benjamin Cleary an Academy Award earlier this year, certainly a great achievement with him being fairly new in the business of filmmaking. He comes from the UK, just like his lead actor Matthew Needham and he is also a major reason why this film got so successful. Very likable presence and you feel with the character. The ending is somewhat predictable, but not entirely. I personally expected her to be a stutterer too or him being able like a miracle to suddenly speak normal when talking to her because it comes so easy. But my interpretation of the ending was a different one. It wasn't 100% obvious as we did not see them talk right next to each other yet, but I think she (MAJOR SPOILER) may be unable to speak because of a disability. All in all, I enjoyed watching this little movie, especially the online chat parts were kinda cute. Go see it if you get the chance. Far worse films have won Oscars.
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Touching Drama
Michael_Elliott26 February 2016
Stutterer (2015)

*** (out of 4)

Benjamin Cleary wrote and directed this tender short, which picked up a Best Short Oscar nomination. A man named Greenwood (Matthew Needham) has been having an online relationship with a woman named Ellie (Chloe Pirrie) but things take a turn for him when she asks to meet him in person. The thing is that Greenwood has a major stuttering problem, which he fears might cost him a chance at a real relationship with the woman.

STUTTERER certainly wasn't the best nominated short that I saw but there's no question that it has a rather tender story as well as a very touching ending that I certainly won't spoil here. I thought director Cleary did a very good job at building out the story and I thought it was extremely well-made. I liked the laid back nature of the picture and I thought the story was rather clever in the way that it eventually played out.
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an unflinching and fluent reply..
merelyaninnuendo8 July 2018

4 Out Of 5

Stutterer is a character driven short feature about a young boy that wishes to scream and be heard of. The emotions poured onto screen seem a splash of risk for it may land on either side of the coin but since the genuine reasoning isn't dependable on its justification, it comes off effective and impressive.

The camera work is plausible, and is shot beautifully with an amazing cinematography and subtle background score that helps the viewers calculate the magnitude of the sequence. The characters can be one-dimensional in such short films considering the limited amount of time they are allotted but in here they are pragmatic and smarter to keep the audience invested in it.

The primary reason why it works is how the makers have managed to pick up such a small piece of the puzzle and depict it with such higher stakes to communicate with the audience which works like a charm in here.

Benjamin Cleary; the writer-director, has done an excellent work on executing such an explicit script that is fueled within its self-created morality conflicts. Matthew Needham is convincing in his portrayal and is amazing on conveying the message without any words.

Stutterer is an unflinching and fluent reply to the society, unseen mythical force and oneself, as far as emotions are valued and concerned equally.
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Facing Problems
Like the character in the short, we're all charged with difficulties which we have to overcome, whether sooner or later. It's important that we may never give up. That's what matters in the end. You would want help to come from outside, but you know today you gotta help yourself first in order to move forward in life.
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Really enjoyable film. Definitely recommend it
thescreamingweazel17 November 2017
Warning: Spoilers
"Stutterer" is a heartwarming film that shows a story in a new and perhaps unheard way. The film demonstrates the everyday challenges of a young man's life, as he pursues love and navigates the obstacles of an unforgiving world.

"Stutterer" is a 2015 short film that has been played at over 100 festivals and has won over 25 awards including an Academy Award for best live action short film 2016, a Cannes Young Director award, a London Critic's Circle award and an Irish Film & Television Award 2016. The writer and director of "Stutterer", Benjamin Cleary, is a thirty-two-year-old graduate of University College Dublin and of the London Film School.

I really enjoyed how some of the scenes were shot. Some of them reminded me a bit of Wes Anderson's symmetrical style. The film's cinematography It also didn't feel like Cleary was just throwing in the shots just to make his film more "artistic"; I felt like it actually served the story. For example, when we get an extreme-close-up of the main character's mouth, it asks the viewer to concentrate on his stutter and feel empathy.I also think the shots of him chatting with his online girlfriend were done exceptionally well. Those scenes reminded me a bit of Wes Anderson; A high angle shot of his MacBook centred in the frame, as he typed away. The standout aspect of this movie is how they portray the character, his anxiety and the disorder that he has. As someone who has struggled with anxiety, I found it very easy to empathize and get close to the main character. I think the actor who played the main character did an incredible job portraying a person with a stutter. This is an excerpt from a New Yorker article talking about the actor's preparation: "In rehearsals, we put all our time into making the stuttering authentic," Cleary said. "They studied tapes and came up with rules for the sounds Greenwood would get caught on". The director even asked real-life stutterers how they felt about Greenwood's stutter: "'We've had a really positive response,' he said. 'When you make something like this, you're nervous, and you want to make sure you do it in a very sensitive way.' And you want it to reflect true experience." You can truly see that the director really cared and dedicated time to nailing the character's disorder. Anxiety is really well characterized in the film. The character always looks uneasy and awkward. He learns sign language just to avoid speaking with his stutter (albeit his stutter is pretty severe).

The film is pretty emotional and makes you really feel for the main character. The scene where Greenwood attempts to share a quote with his father is one of the most powerful scenes in the film. You can see that he is trying his best to share a quote that's been on his mind all day, his eyes show it as he struggles to utter the words to the person he is closest to, his dad. For most of the movie, we see Greenwood's life from his perspective. You really get close to him. We see his apartment, his work and what he thinks about on a daily basis. I felt pity as I watched him struggle to talk with others, get punched by a stranger. He doesn't look like he deserved any of this.

Although I really enjoyed the film, it's not perfect. The film is best viewed the first time and in my opinion gets worse after each viewing. I say this because almost everything here is pretty surface level. After you watch it for the first time, there is nothing really for you to dissect and analyze the second time you watch it. The narrative structure is pretty straightforward.

"Stutterer" is really good. I got sucked into the movie by enjoying the neat visuals, emotional scenes and how they portrayed an individual suffering from a disorder. The film has a pretty straightforward narrative and it doesn't get better after the first viewing. I would still definitely recommend it. 7/10.
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