Wednesday, October 26, 2016
The New Yorker Reviews the Oscar-Winning Short Film, “Stutterer” About Anxiety, Love & Living With Stuttering
The new Screening Room short, “Stutterer,” won the Academy Award for Best Live Action Short Film this year. It’s a thirteen-minute movie about a young London typographer named Greenwood (Matthew Needham). Greenwood stutters, to the extent that verbal conversation is difficult. When he tries to resolve an issue with a service representative over the phone, he can’t get the words out; the operator, gruff and impatient, hangs up. (For surliness, she rivals the operator in the old Yaz song.) When a woman approaches Greenwood on the street, he uses sign language to avoid talking. But in his thoughts, which we hear, he does not stutter. And when he chats online with a woman named Ellie (Chloe Pirrie) he can express himself freely, and is casual, charming, and content. When Ellie writes that she’s coming to London, he panics. How he navigates her visit provides the film’s narrative and emotional suspense.
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. He now lives in Dublin. Cleary is not a stutterer himself.