Author(s): Daniel Crooke
Produced by: Betty White, Harvey Weinstein, Bob Weinstein
Directed by: Stephen Frears
Screenplay by: Dan Futterman
Betty White as E.L. Hughes
Bill Nighy as Frederick Hughes
Catherine Keener as Stephanie Hughes
Eric Roberts as Michael Hughes
Glenn Close as Frances Mills
Paul Giamatti as Dr. George Damons
Tagline: “After 50 years of writing, all her future work is erased”
Synopsis: In 2007, E.L. Hughes was working on a new book. E.L. was a world-renowned author who was a New York Times Bestseller. She had been writing since the 1950's. She was still in high demand for her writing. She had just named her new book, "The History of Mr. Mills". The last name "Mills" was a reference to her publisher, Frances Mills. She would often title characters after people she knew. She was about five pages into it one night when her husband, Frederick, told her she should probably go to bed. It was 12:02. E.L. finished a few more pages and went to her bedroom, took off her glasses, kissed her husband, and went to sleep. The next morning, E.L. woke up like any other day. She put on her glasses and got out of bed. She saw a letter on her bedside table from her husband, telling her that her publisher wanted her to write more that day. She smiled and continued into the kitchen. After breakfast, she went to her typewriter and sat down. She stared at the keys and she could not make any sense of them. She could not understand the letters on the keys and could not reread what she had written. She was confused, so she called her doctor, Dr. George Damons. After describing her situation, the doctor told her that she had suffered an afasia and could no longer read or write. E.L. denied it and hung up the phone. Not believing it, she went back to her bedroom and tried to read the note from her husband. She couldn't.
Two months later after problems with her husband and publisher, E.L. had not told one person about her afasia. She was having to lie to her publisher, her friends, and most importantly: her husband. Frederick had grown incredibly suspicious and frustrated about E.L.'s strange behavior. She had been telling him there was nothing wrong and that the ideas were coming to her but she hadn't had the time to write and that she also sometimes had writers block. The truth to why she had not told anyone was that she was too proud to tell anyone that she had a problem. She denied problems left and right since she had suffered the afasia. Her children, Stephanie and Michael, had noticed a change too. Her children were never nice people, they did whatever it took to get what they wanted. Michael concluded that their mother had a medical problem so they bribed Dr. Damons to get the answer. Once the two found out about E.L.'s afasia they decided to take advantage of their mother's checkbook. So, they forced their mother into signing checks for hundreds, sometimes thousands, of dollars to the two of them. It absolutely destroyed E.L. knowing that her children were taking advantage of her, but she would not admit a thing. Frederick noticed that his bank account was shrinking. He directed it back to E.L. and he insisted that the two go into marriage counseling because he knew something was wrong and E.L. would not tell him. E.L. could not bring herself to confess that her talent that the world loved was gone. Her publisher was now threatening to drop her. After a monstrous fight with Frederick that left her in tears because she was so ashamed of her denial, she knew it was time to forget her pride and to finally let everyone know about her afasia. After confessing everything to Frederick in private, she called a press release that her publisher arranged. She admitted everything that had happened over the last months.
E.L. left her publisher, on good terms. She began to speak around the country, and eventually the world, about her career and her struggle with the afasia.
What the press would say:The always underrated Betty White gives the best performance of her career in the new film directed by Stephen Frears, "E.L.". The film is a fictional narrative of an author, White, who suffers an afasia. An afasia is a sudden deletion of a skill in the brain. In this case, it is the author's ability to read and write. E.L. can not face her problem and denies it, her pride being the reason she won't confess. Betty White's performance cannot be described in excellence. It is superior to anything I have seen this year, and I would go as far to say that it is one of the best female performances ever played by an actress. White's ability to get inside her character is truly beyond amazing. Her subtle expressions while trying to deny a problem, even when her menacing children make her sign away thousands of dollars, really move you. White's character development builds as the film progresses and really make you feel for E.L. . She is not only a fictional character, but one that you make a deep connection with as she falls deeper and deeper into a hole. Not only is White fantastic, but Bill Nighy's portrayal of her husband is also excellent. His delivery of his lines and his physical expression is wonderful to watch, although it is difficult material that he delivers. When he fights with Betty White, the tension between the two is excellent. The two of them have won several precursors this year. Betty White has pulled a Helen Mirren and has won every single precursor from the guilds and critics awards. Nighy won the National Board of Review, as well as the New York Film Critics Awards. Driven by two great performances and a wonderful screenplay by Dan Futterman, "E.L." should work its way up to a Best Picture nomination. Betty White really is amazing and she, without a doubt, will win the Oscar. "E.L." goes down in history as one of the best character-driven films ever to grace the silver screen.
Best Picture- Betty White, Harvey Weinstein, Bob Weinstein
Best Director- James L. Brooks
Best Actress- Betty White
Best Supporting Actor- Bill Nighy
Best Original Screenplay- Dan Futterman
Best Film Editing