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Film / Stutterer

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Stutterer is a 2015 short film written and directed by Benjamin Cleary.

Greenwood (Matthew Needham) is a young London bachelor who lives alone and works as a typographer. He has a severe, crippling stutter that makes him virtually unable to communicate with people—a cable company customer service operator hangs up on him. Even worse, it's threatening his relationship with Ellie, his Internet girlfriend (Chloe Pirrie) who wants to end their six months of texting and actually meet in person. Greenwood is terrified of what might happen when Ellie hears his stutter.


  • Call-Back: The first scene has Greenwood unable to ask a customer service rep about his internet bill, due to his stutter. A later scene has Greenwood in his dad's house, chopping vegetables, while his father can be heard offscreen angrily shouting at someone from the broadband company for failing to accommodate his son.
  • Chekhov's Skill: Greenwood is shown learning sign language, so he can pretend that he's deaf and thus will have an excuse to not talk to people. The ending reveals that Ellie, his Internet girlfriend, is deaf.
  • Cigarette of Anxiety: At one point Greenwood is shown anxiously puffing on a cigarette outside
  • Inner Monologue: While Greenwood can't express himself verbally he has a rich and busy inner monologue.
  • Long-Distance Relationship: Greenwood and Ellie have been texting for six months. Ellie, who seems to hail from somewhere vaguely Oop North, is visiting London and wants to meet Greenwood.
  • Mouthscreen: Opens with a tight closeup of Greenwood's lips. At that moment he is trying but failing to get out a question regarding his Internet bill, to the customer service rep on the other end of the line.
  • Obfuscating Disability: Greenwood learns some sign language so he can pretend to be deaf so people won't talk to him.
  • Ridiculously Long Phone Hold: Greenwood is put on interminable phone holds with his internet service provider, which makes it all the more agonizing when he finally gets a human to talk too, and the human hangs up because Greenwood can't get his question out.
  • Speech Impediment: It's pretty bad. Even with his father, and even when he practices what he's going to say in advance, it takes him forever to get something out.
  • Stutter Stop: Played with. Greenwood's stutter doesn't vanish when he meets Ellie; but it doesn't matter, because she's deaf.