Reflections On Stutterer The Film
Posted February 10, 2016on:
I recently went to see the short film “Stutterer,” which was shown as part of five short films nominated for Oscars in the live action category. It is exciting to see another film about stuttering up for an Academy Award. Hopefully it will ignite stuttering awareness.
The short film is only 12 minutes long, but packs a punch. On opening, you see the main character, Greenwood, struggle to speak on the phone. Later in the film, we see Greenwood’s father make the phone call for him.
The film conveys how much of a struggle it is for Greenwood to speak, yet in his head, the words flow eloquently and effortlessly.
He is lonely, because he is terrified of communicating with anyone. He is studying sign language and pretends to be deaf so he can communicate without having to speak verbally.
The crux of the film centers around a relationship he has with a beautiful girl he has met online. He can communicate with ease as he types out witty responses to this girl.
But soon she wants to meet in person. She writes him suggesting a meet up, as she is planning a visit. This brings him to a panic, and he doesn’t respond to her right away.
She assumes his non-response means that he doesn’t want to meet. Finally, after much delay, he gets up the courage and writes to her saying he’d like to meet if she was still interested.
When they meet, he discovers she is deaf and communicates through sign language.
The short film was deeply satisfying and left me wanting more. I wanted to see what became of their meet up and if they started dating. I wanted to see if he got up the courage to seek out speaking situations despite his severe stutter.
I felt the character’s stuttering was very realistic, as was his fear of negative social reactions and judgement.
My concern is the portrayal of sign language as a viable alternative to speaking. I worry that stutterers will see this film and get the idea that using sign language to avoid speaking is OK. That’s not the message we should send to the stuttering community, especially young people who have not yet found their voices.
The film is a romance and really doesn’t aim to raise stuttering awareness. But maybe the title will do the trick and get people talking about stuttering which always provides a good opportunity to educate and raise awareness.