The Oscars tend to allocate the most attention to the big hits from the past year, but let’s not forget that categories such as Best Foreign Film, Best Short Animation, and Best Short Film, award those who are on the doorway of making a big name for themselves. And this year’s “Stutterer” is no exception.
This Irish short film set in London shows a young man who is struggling with his speech impediment during his day-to-day routines. We have seen this vocal disability highlighted in “The King’s Speech”, but I think in here we get a far better view of how the character deals with it. Speaking on the phone or to his dad, he struggles over combining words together into a coherent sentence. But in his mind and inner dialogue, we see he is very intelligent, analytical, and quick-witted.
He can accurately determine a stranger’s job and personality just from looking at them on the street, and holds a witty conversation with a young woman on social media. It is a very interesting angle because you get to see this side when from the outside, you wouldn’t. Honestly, I found it fascinating, and a great method of developing the character.
The main performance in here is bang on the money. Not only does he translate the speech difficulties across to the audience in a believable manner, but he is just a charming, clever actor that can work well with material that primarily has no dialogue.
The direction and production that went into this little film is extremely competent, and feels much more professional than I was ready to expect. Lighting work helps to alter the tone in a very organic way, and the sound design is really, hard to flaw at all. I especially like the locations they managed to use – they kept out the major London locations and thus helped make it feel more unique and attachable.
The way the narrative wraps up is very sweet too, some might call it out as being too convenient, but whatever. It isn’t often that characters like these are shown in such a… normal light by a movie. There isn’t this great parade made about the issue, life just goes on and the fascination comes from seeing these people just get on with it. See their own difficulties and ambitions. It is wonderful.
Now, I’m not saying all this just because it is an Irish film and I am obliged to like it. “Stutterer” succeeds entirely from its own merits and achievements. You should really put aside a bit of time to check this out, it illustrates how the short film medium can create genuinely emotional stories as much as a big budget drama can. A worthy winner, and I wish the whole team every success for the future. Keep up the good work!
Thanks for reading!