"Stutterer" A Short Film Analysis
Hey there fellow Steemians!
Today, I wanted to share with you all an analysis of the Oscar-Winning short film "Stutterer", a film near and dear to my heart. I've shared with you all in the past that I've struggled with a stutter my entire life, so I thought it may be insightful for you all to read an analysis through the lens of someone who knows first hand what the main character is struggling with. If you haven't already seen the film, you can watch it below:
The film follows a man named Greenwood, who like the title suggests, has a crippling stutter. The speech impediment largely impacts his day to day life, and he forces himself to go to great depths to avoid speaking to people. Despite his stutter, Greenwood has quite an eloquent inner voice, which helps give us an insight to the inner-workings of his mind.
The film opens up with Greenwood trying to make a simple inquiry call about a utility bill. This may seem like an effortless task to most people, but unbeknownst to many, talking on the phone can be one of the most daunting things in the world to someone with a stutter. This was an immense struggle for me and the more I analyzed why, the more I came to the conclusion that talking on the phone requires clear and somewhat fluent speech, causing you to try harder to speak well, inevitably resulting in worse speech. After Greenwood struggles on the phone for a few seconds, the customer service representative hangs up on him, repeating his vicious cycle of being put on hold and hung up on over and over. After the call ends, we are introduced to Greenwood's inner-voice, who flawlessly and fluently states "Hi, my name is Greenwood, and I'm calling about my bill", showing how even though he may struggle to push the words out, it has nothing to do with his intelligence and despite his speech impediment, he is actually very well spoken.
Greenwood is seen throughout the film learning sign language. One may wonder, why would a man who lives alone and is not deaf be learning sign language? Well the answer is simple, and it's that Greenwood wants to avoid speaking to people all together. Greenwood is to the point in his life where he assumes that because of his stutter, even the simplest interactions such as asking for directions, will result in him being either ridiculed or dismissed altogether. Let's talk about that for a second. Not being able to speak is one thing, but feeling like you don't have a voice is something much worse. Now when I reference to a person's "voice", it's a reference to their individuality; what makes them, them. Feeling like you don't have a voice equivocates to not having an identity. So Greenwood forces himself to learn sign language in order to avoid the difficulties of everyday speech, such as giving directions to pedestrians.
As short and simple as this scene is, I still find it to be one of the most important. The scene is set where Greenwood and his father are playing a board game quietly, when Greenwood decides to share a quote with his father. The quote is "Music is the pleasure the human soul experiences from counting without being aware that it is counting", which is an interesting quote, but I don't think that the quote is what's important about this scene. Obviously, Greenwood has a very difficult time getting his words out throughout the entirety of his speech, but despite this, Greenwood's father patiently listens to him through every word, taking in what he says unlike most people. After Greenwood finishes what he's saying, his father smiles at him, laughs, and says "Hey, I like that one." The message behind this scene is that even though someone may have a difficult time communicating, whether it be a speech impediment, a thick accent, or whatever else it may be, it doesn't mean that their words have any less value. Even though it can be easy to get impatient when you can't understand someone, you should still listen with intent, because's everyone's voices, words, and opinions should be held to the same value.
Greenwood's Love Interest
Because of his stutter, Greenwood avoids traditional dating in fear of being judged. So throughout the film, he maintains an online relationship with a girl named Ellie. All is going great, until Ellie decides that she wants to meet Greenwood in person, which puts him quite an unfavorable position. The two choices are simply tell her no and possibly end the relationship he has with her, or meet her and possibly end the relationship in spite of her not being able to understand him. At first, the decision is too much for him to handle, so he closes the laptop and goes to bed. He then struggles with the decision without responding for a few days, resulting in Ellie messaging him again in disappointment of him not deciding to meet her. After Greenwood reads this he then decides he must put aside his insecurities and take a risk, then proceeds to message her that he would love to meet up with her if she was still interested. For the next few days he struggled with what he would say to her and more importantly, how. Then the night comes of their date, and Greenwood still is not prepared. He then walks to their agreed meeting point, presumably with great anxiety. He sees her, and is taken aback by how pretty she looks, and he still has nothing to say. That's when a civilian sitting at a cafe she is standing next to asks her a question and she doesn't hear him. We see him try to speak to her for a few more seconds, until he taps on her shoulder. She then turns around and communicates with him in sign language. She's deaf, and we watch Greenwood make the discovery along side us. Ellie then notices him standing on the opposite side of the street and they share a smile. She asks him in sign if he wants to cross the street so they can finally meet, and he does. The significance of the ending in my opinion, is that there is someone who is perfect for all of us, and if we look hard enough someone will accept all of your flaws. It's not about finding the perfect person, it's about finding the person that's perfect for you.
Well that about wraps up my analysis folks! I hope you all enjoyed this film as much as I did, and I especially hope that you all took something away from this film, because it is packed with a powerful message.
Until next time, rock on Steemians!