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Cms 330 movie analysis pd Cms 330 movie analysis pd Presentation Transcript

  • CMS 330 Movie Analysis Poleigh Driscoll
  • Background • Peter Segal’s 50 First Dates details the story of Lucy Whitmore, a young woman suffering from permanent amnesia caused by brain damage and Henry Roth, a once notorious womanizer, and how the relationship between the two develops over the course of time. • Despite challenges that threaten to get in the way, Henry and Lucy create a rare and untraditional relationship making it truly one of a kind and one worth working at every single day.
  • Lucy Whitmore • • Lucy’s brain damage was caused in a car accident rendering it impossible for her to remember anything after the day of the accident. Her memories leading up to the accident remained intact, so her family, to prevent her the trauma of having to rerealize her condition each day, wakes up each morning to recreate the day prior to Lucy’s accident, ultimately living it over and over again. This process had gone on for a year, the same way each day, until Henry Roth entered the picture. Part of Lucy’s daily tradition was to go out to breakfast and that is where Henry first laid eyes on her and was so drawn to her he couldn’t stay away, even once he finally realized she was an amnesiac. • Previously spending most of her time with her father, brother and close members of the community, Lucy’s life took an interesting change, eventually for the best, once she met Henry. The man she would fall more and more in love with in a new way each day, literally, found a way to bridge the communication challenge created by the amnesia.
  • Henry Roth • Henry, a veterinarian, had no value for romantic relationships prior to meeting Lucy. Until the fateful day at the breakfast diner where he found the woman he would spend each day proving his love to, Henry lived the typical life of a bachelor. • Upon meeting Lucy, Henry really didn’t know what he was in for. After finally working up the courage to approach her, Henry could not help but want to know more about the woman he was so intrigued by. Not long after meeting Lucy, Henry found himself wondering why, despite previously friendly conversations, she would act in days that followed as if she didn’t know him at all. • Realizing his interest in Lucy, one of the diner workers- a close friend of Lucy’s deceased mother, let Henry in on the story. Now understanding Lucy’s apprehension and behavior toward him, Henry was shocked. Despite Lucy’s condition and knowing she would wake up each morning with no memory of him or the day before, Henry decided to continue to pursue Lucy and make her fall in love with him even if that meant doing it all over again with each new day. And that he did.
  • The Relationship • • SPOILER ALERT: Since this is a critical analysis of the film rather than a beginning to end synopsis of its events, Lucy and Henry’s relationship will be summed up here in case anyone hasn’t seen this movie! In the end, Lucy and Henry become married, have a child and take off on a boat to sea where Henry would study aquatic life. Understanding Lucy’s condition and the nature of their relationship at the start, this story is an interesting one in terms of analyzing communication. Common forms of verbal and nonverbal communication practices help maintain the very uncommon relationship. • Lucy and Henry deal with several interpersonal communication concepts throughout the course of the movie: remembering, trust, control, eff ective messages, appropriate messages, social exchange theory, relationship costs, relationship rewards, interpersonal needs
  • Remembering • • The concept of remembering and memory is an interesting one in terms of the relationship between Lucy and Henry. Defined as “the process of moving information from short-term memory to long-term memory (209), Lucy’s brain damage makes this process impossible. While her long-term memories made prior to the accident remain intact, she no longer has the ability to turn make her shortterm memories longer lasting or permanent. The difficulty that Lucy’s inability to remember is seen many times throughout the movie, but the ‘Stranger in the Bed’ scene is one which does a great job showing it. After a great date night out, Henry and Lucy end up in bed together, falling asleep. As the two drift off, Henry says to Lucy, “don’t forget about me, okay?” knowing that come morning, she would not share the memories he would. As was always the case, when he two woke up Lucy was in a panic to be in bed with a ‘stranger’ and began screaming and throwing things at Henry. “Don’t you remember me just a little?” he begged, but she didn’t, and despite his hopes that one day he would defy her condition, he understood.
  • • Lucy’s inability to remember, a fundamental feature in being able to communicate with others, proved challenging for Henry, but nothing could keep him away from her. To aid where her memory lacked, Henry decided to film a recap of each day he had with Lucy including current events to the things they would do together to show to her each morning. When Lucy was able to visualize the life she was happily living, even if she had to learn that again each day, the couple was able to spend less time as ‘strangers’ and more time creating new experiences together. While long-term memory processing could not take place, the video helped Lucy realize her reality on a short-term basis.
  • Trust • Defined as “the extent to which partners in relationships rely on, depend on, and have faith that their partner will not intentionally do anything to harm them” (16), the concept of trust plays a huge role in the success of the relationship between Lucy and Henry. • Since Lucy woke up each morning thinking Henry was a stranger, her ability to trust in his character is incremental in making the relationship a lasting one. The fact that Lucy watched the home videos every morning and continued to decide to go find Henry for breakfast proved that she did trust in him and their relationship.
  • Control • Control is defined as “the extent to which each person has power or is ‘in charge’ in the relationship” (16). In the case of Lucy and Henry, who has control and in what situations is always disputable. As is the case in all relationships, the levels of control are defined over time and over many exchanges. • To some degree, it seems that Henry is ‘in charge’ in the relationship as without his persistence, due to Lucy’s inability to remember, the couple would fail to work out. Even when Lucy insisted in an emotional scene that Henry’s life would be hindered by staying with her, he refused to let their relationship end, ultimately exercising his ability to control the situation. • In another sense, it could be interpreted that Lucy has more control in the relationship without even knowing it. Due to her condition, Henry had to cater to constantly creating and maintaining a relationship in spite of it. Of course, being truly in love with Lucy, Henry did it all with love.
  • Effective Messages • Effective messages achieve goals envision by the partners in an exchange or a relationship (21). Immediately after learning of Lucy’s amnesia, Henry had to create effective messages to persuade her every day to want to spend time with him. • In a scene making a bet with Nick, the chef and Lucy’s friend at the breakfast restaurant, Henry insisted he could get Lucy to want to have breakfast with him again. In the next few scenes, Henry is shown making several comically unsuccessful attempts at gaining Lucy’s interest. • The first few rejections Henry faced were because he and Lucy had different visions of the outcomes of their exchanges. Henry approached Lucy hoping to spark a conversation and relationship by being funny or charming and Lucy was initially not interested and therefore not quick to communicate with him. In this respect, Henry’s messages were not effective in nature in the beginning.
  • Appropriate Messages • • • These types of messages “conform to the social, relational and ethical expectations of the situation” (21). These types of components of communication and messages shared within relationships are defined, in part, by how others see them (21). Henry had to adapt his communication skills in ways he never had prior to meeting Lucy- in fact, most people in her life had to recreate the way it was ‘appropriate’ to communicate with her after the accident. Once Henry got to know Lucy, he understood that there were several people supporting her and working hard to ensure that each day went accordingly so Lucy would be happy and blissfully unaware of her situation. That in mind, Lucy’s dad, brother, as well as Nick and Sue from the restaurant, were very protective of her and therefore apprehensive of allowing Henry to spend time with her fearing that he would not be sensitive in the way he spoke to her and therefore careful of the verbal messages he was sending. It was Henry’s patience with Lucy, his persistence and way of keeping her happy that won over her supportive family and friends. Using appropriate messages, meaning avoiding ever telling Lucy of her brain damage, meant that Henry, too, played a role day to day to recreate the day before Lucy’s accident and make himself a part of it starting from breakfast and eventually, ending falling asleep together only to wake up and do it all again.
  • Social Exchange Theory • The theory suggests that “we continue to develop a relationship as long as feel that its rewards outweigh its cost” (177). The case of Lucy and Henry is an interesting one in terms of social exchange; many people in Henry’s situation may have looked at Lucy’s amnesia as a cost outweighing the benefits of the relationship, but instead, Henry let it motivate him to love her even more in the ways she needed. • In the scene where Sue told Henry of Lucy’s amnesia and the way she lives the same day over and over again, many men might have lost interest and run away. Listening to what Sue said and internalizing what it meant, Henry, instead, decided to work harder to pursue Lucy. To him, her attention and spending time with her outweighed the costs it may take to do so. The unconventional relationship between Lucy and Henry, according to Social Exchange Theory, worked because both partners, in their own ways, decided each day that the rewards were much greater than any costs.
  • Relationship Costs • • • These costs are defined as “negative outcomes to a relationship, including the time and energy we spend developing a relationship and the negative experiences that may arise like hurt feelings, conflict episodes, jealousy, etc.” (177). Lucy and Henry’s relationship definitely faced it’s share of costs, but fortunately, the couple did not succumb to them. Because Lucy couldn’t remember Henry and all of the things the two had been through in all of their time together, there were at times, conflicts mostly involving keeping Lucy on the same page as Henry. One major cost that plagued the relationship for a time was Lucy’s insistence that Henry would be better off without her resulting in hurt feelings and two different visions of where the relationship was at and where it was going. Lucy had kept a journal to read each morning recounting her times with Henry and her feelings for him and one night, met with him for what she thought would be a final time to burn it and allow him to move on and find a more fulfilling relationship. As he always had, Henry let Lucy express herself as she needed to, but did not lost faith that she would eventually come around and after a break up and a stint in an assisted living facility, she did. Henry never gave up on his love for Lucy because as he would always say, he couldn’t picture his life without her, and the costs were never unconquerable or outweighing the rewards in his mind.
  • Relationship Rewards • • After withstanding initial differences and several trying times, Lucy and Henry found that falling in love all over again each day was as rewarding as it was difficult. The relationship resulted in many rewards. By meeting Henry, Lucy found someone who helped her come to terms with her new lifestyle, her amnesia and would always love her regardless. The two married, had a daughter and took off on a boat where Henry was able to follow his dream of studying ocean aquatic life. • Lucy and Henry represented two people who could have easily let the costs of their relationship break them, but instead, proved that when the rewards outweigh the costs as they did, love can withstand any challenges that could face it.
  • Interpersonal Needs Theory • • • Interpersonal Needs Theory is “the premise that all of us have inclusion, affection, and control needs that we try to meet through our relationships, although our need for each of these varies in degree from person to person” (176). It can be that at times Lucy and Henry had different needs for inclusion, affection and control throughout the course of their relationship. At first, Henry craved Lucy’s affection while she denied his. As Henry began to get his way, Lucy’s life was truly benefitted by his presence and her need for his affection grew in its own way. She kept a journal of her time with Henry to read each morning and when she did, she continued to see Henry because as a friend and lover, he fulfilled interpersonal needs and became an important part of her life even if she had to remind herself of that every day. It can be said that in some ways, Henry was more interpersonally needy than Lucy. He remembered and thrived off of his relationship with her, seeking inclusion in her life and all she did. On the other hand, Lucy loved Henry, but without his persistence and constant daily presence, she would forget that he existed and be able to move on without loss of inclusion, affection or control. Henry did not have the ability or want the ability to forget that he needed Lucy.
  • Other-Centered Messages • • • Other-centered messages are “communications that focus on the needs of the person requiring support through active listening and expressions of compassion, understanding, and encouragement” (273). As was the common trend throughout the movie and this analysis, several characters proved to be there for and cater to the needs of the vulnerably Lucy through listening, practicing compassion, understanding and encouragement. A few scenes following Lucy finally finding out about her amnesia, Henry volunteered to take her to the neurologist so the two could hear the news from the doctor himself about her diagnosis. Since Lucy obviously needed support, compassion and a listening ear to help her sort through the devastating news, Henry became that person for her. Although Lucy would forget receiving the news and need to be reminded each day by video how her life changed day by day, Henry remembered it all and employed other-centered messages daily to be the support the love of his life needed.
  • In Conclusion • 50 First Dates and Lucy and Henry’s relationship serves as an interesting case study in communication practices. • Based around a relationship that had to start anew each day, the discussed concepts contributed to the couple’s ability to overcome the very things, including major differences in communication methods, that threatened to tear them apart.
  • Works Cited • Google Images. • Verderber, K.S., Verderber, R.F. Inter-Act: Interpersonal Communication.