The Family Jack – Father Dina – Mother Pam – Daughter Greg- Pam’s Boyfriend
Family (Cont.)Jack: played by Robert De Niro, is the fatherand husband of Dina. He is a very stern manthat seems suspicious of anyone that crosseshis path. He seems to be very successfulfinancially. He also serves as the protector ofthe family, and takes this responsibility veryseriously.Dina: The wife of Jack, she takes the role ofmother and housewife in the movie. Howevershe does seems to be independent, and letsher voice be heard when she feels the need.Pam: The daughter of Jack and Dina. Shecomes across as a strong, confident womenwith a bright future. She loves her family, andconsiders herself a “daddy girl”.Greg: The boyfriend of Pam. He seems to bevery open-minded and progressive. He seemsunsure at times, and causes a lot of unintendedproblems for the family during his visit.
Cohesion The last two of the four levels of Cohesion that Galvin describes are Cohesive, and Enmeshed. From Jacks perspective I would see the family enmeshed. He frequently refers to his “circle of trust” as a barrier to his family from the outside world. His wife and daughter however don’t seem to agree with idea as much as he does. They each have their own individuality despite Jacks enmeshed ways.
Family Structure Rigid – “Low levels of change, as well as authoritarian leadership and strict roles and rules” (32). The family operates with clearly defined roles that don’t seems to change. The rules seem to also be very rigid. Jack acts as the leader of the household.
Role FunctionsJack: He is the main contributor tothe family financially. He claims heworks with Flowers however it islater discovered that he was a CIAagent. He is also considerednurturing to the children and thefamilys protector.Dina: She is seen a caregiver, andmanager of daily needs. Eventhough her daughter is out of thehome, you can still see her rolespayout when her daughter returns.
Boundaries This topic relates directly to the movie and its plot. The movie is based on Greg meeting Pam’s family for the first time. He comes to find out that the boundaries in place make it very hard for Jack to accept him. “You can imagine boundaries as physical or psychological limits that regulate family members access to people, places, ideas, and values”. (Galvin 41) What jack is trying to do is limit his own familys access to Greg, who is Jewish, and at the same time limit his access to the family. He refers to the “circle of trust” as the boundary that allows access to his family.
Family Secrets Jack creates this boundary to first, protect his family, but also to protect his secret. He worked for the CIA for many years while putting up the front that he was a florist. This secret explains his extreme boundary, as well his overall suspicion of Greg. This would be considered an essential secret in the eyes of the CIA, but to Greg it would be considered toxic.
Intimacy The intimacy between Jack, Dina, and Pam seems to function well. There is open communication and intimacy between all immediate family members. No issue is present. The intimacy also functions well between Dina, Pam, and Greg. Although Jack is very suspicious of Greg this does not effect Dina’s communication with Greg.
Barriers To Intimacy The barrier to intimacy takes place between Greg and Jack. This occurs due to a number of reasons they include: Greg is Jewish. Greg is a nurse. He also feels that Greg is deceptive , a pothead, and has no right to marry his daughter.
Conflict The conflict in the film occurs throughout. While Greg is trying to gain acceptance from Jack he doesn’t help himself at all. He continually runs into problems while at the parents home. One example of this conflict is when Greg losses the family Cat. Jack loves this cat like his child and Greg knows that he is in trouble. The conflict he causes with the family creates stress for all members, and strengthens Jacks idea that Greg is not fit to marry his daughter.
Referance Galvin, Kathleen M., and Bernard J. Brommel. Family Communication: Cohesion and Change. Glenview, IL: Scott, Foresman, 1986. Print. IMDb. IMDb.com, n.d. Web. 06 Dec. 2012. "Meet the Parents(2000)- Photos." Yahoo! Movies. N.p., n.d. Web. 06 Dec. 2012.