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Sorrowful Stutter

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A Dialogue trope where writers and/or actors show how much a friend or a loved one's loss hurts a character by having them suddenly stop speaking for a moment, often before saying the deceased's name, as they deal with a sudden surge of emotion and have to prevent their voice from breaking.


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    Film — Live-Action 
  • In Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, Captain Kirk manages to get through most of his eulogy for Spock before stopping to gather himself before the final word of the line "Of all the souls I have encountered in my travels, his was the most... human."
  • Revenge for Jolly!: As Harry and Cecil stand over Jolly's grave in the backyard, Harry says, "She... was the only thing... that made me..." He can't finish the sentence.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Miami Vice: When Switek is giving Zito's eulogy in "Down for the Count," he begins with "Lar was my partner..." He pauses for almost twenty seconds before continuing, "...but to me, he was more like a brother." He then stops, overcome by emotion.
  • Subverted in Law & Order: Criminal Intent episode "The Unblinking Eye"; at a vigil for his slain girlfriend, a man engaged in this trope when trying to recite a Robert Frost poem, but his "grieving" was just an audition to show off his acting chops and it comes out that he killed his girlfriend because she was a more talented actor than he was and had more potential for success.

    Video Games 
  • In Saints Row IV, Johnny Gat's second data log has him talk about the Saints' losses over the years, but the only one that audibly hurts him to recall is his girlfriend Aisha — he spends good four seconds silent before bringing himself to say her name, even a decade after her death.
  • In the opening cutscene of Wasteland 2, General Vargas presides over a funeral for a fellow Desert Ranger. After delivering a heartfelt eulogy and recalling the origins of their organization, he promises the others that "no Ranger who dies in the line of duty will... ever be forgotten", pausing before the last three words as his gaze falls on the fallen comrade's girlfriend.

    Web Videos 
  • Everyman HYBRID: One episode features a phone call between Evan and Vinnie. Evan asks if Vinnie remembers their friend Nick, and though Vinnie is light-hearted about it, laughing about how big Nick is, Evan is upset. He hesitates and struggles with explaining that Nick had not only attacked him, but that he ended up killing Nick in self-defense. He sounds on the verge of tears the entire time.

    Western Animation 
  • Batman: The Animated Series: In "I Am The Night", Batman is plagued by guilt and self-doubt after arriving too late to prevent Commissioner Gordon from being badly wounded. When Dick tries to talk to him about it, he pauses and changes the subject after recalling his parents' murder, "Jim Gordon is the same age my father would have been if he hadn't... Now he's hanging by a thread."
  • Parodied in the Robot Chicken sketch about a Inspector Gadget/The Terminator when Dr. Claw's cat dies of leukemia. The Stinger of the episode has him seemingly stuttering in grief and about to tearfully eulogize him, only to suddenly break out in anger with, "I'll get you next time, Gadget! NEXT TIME!"

    Real Life 
  • In his Oscar speech after winning Best Actor for his role in Joker (2019), Joaquin Phoenix did this when speaking about his belated brother and sharing a song lyric he wrote as a teenager, "Run to the rescue with love and peace will follow."