The Blind Side exemplifies important principles of interpersonal communication. Based on true episodes and life events, the film explores the struggles that characters go through to succeed in life. The highlights of the theoretical understanding evidenced in the film is anchored on the scene where Michael Oher goes back to Memphis and meets a new atmosphere altogether forcing him to engage in intercultural communication, listening, perceptual accentuation, feedback and nonverbal cures. This paper presents an analysis of “The Blind Side” using various concepts and theories in interpersonal communication.
According to DeVito (2013 p. 227), interpersonal communication is an important aspect of human life. This means that as replica of human life, films are awash concepts of communication and relationships and the various interpersonal communication theories are concepts are applicable to the films. The film, written by Michael Lewis, has two different tales of Michael Ohor. This character is the film is an African-American teenager, who is less privileged, leading to a white family taking pity on and adopting him. One part of the story is about the trials and tribulations that the teenager goes through; while the other part is about his evolution and the part he comes to play in the football game. Leigh Ann Tuohy comes across the teenager in the street and somehow adopts him and given the fact that he is not so talkative, the other family members find it difficult accommodating him. However, he later finds a place in the family and becomes a major asset, admired and liked by the family.
There are important interpersonal communication concepts that are revealed in the film. Relationship development is among these concepts, which is clearly evident in the film. Interpersonal relationships are revealed as going through a number of stages as suggested by DeVito (p. 230). However, it is not always the case that a relationship will go through the six stages given that there are opportunities to exit at any point (as showed in appendix 1). Any relationship is revealed to begin at some point when people come into contact and an impression about the other person is formed (DeVito, 2013 p. 231). This is what happens when the Tuohys first come into contact with Michael.
Uncertainty Reduction Theory (URT) evidently plays out in the film, where uncertainities (DeVito, p. 232) fraught the beginning of the relationships in the movie. Thus, through knowledge and understanding people are able to reduce the uncertainty in relationships. Initially, it is presumed that Michael will not fit into the family just because he is different (he being black and the family white). However, while the relationship does not appear positive at the very beginning, once Michael stays for a while in the family, they all learn to cope with each other developing relationships as evident in the illustration “It's nice, I never had one before”. In the same breadth Collins Tuohy begins referring to him as his brother, which even amazes his friends as capturd in “Michael, I want you to have a good time but if you get a girl pregnant out of wedlock, I will crawl into the car, drive up to Oxford and cut off your penis”. Michael and Sean Junior develop a relationship of brotherhood.
Non Verbal communication emerges as a very strong concept in the film, especially in the way the family relates to Michael as he is revealed to be less talkative. This means that non-verbal communication plays a critical role in the way he relates to the family. There is a lot of use of gesture as a way of communicating between Michael and the family and even in school and at the game. A classic example is where, before the accident occurs, Michael gives Sean Junior an eye and hand gesture asking to be allowed by the mother to lend them the car.
Besides non-verbal communication, verbal communication is another important concept that emerges in the film (Erozkan, 739). While not talkative, Michael is not mute and can communicate verbally. Verbal Communication and feedback is a major characteristic of interpersonal communication. Michael would communicate with Ann, during the first night with the family, when he objects to the place where he is shown to sleep.
Listening is an evident concept in the film. Listening, which is the capability to accurately receive and interpret message in the process of communicating, is an important element of interpersonal relationships (Erozkan, p.739). This is clearly evident in the film where Miss Sue and Michael’s history teacher listens to him and Ann, leading to an improvement in his performance. Evidently, the entire change and improvement in Michael’s life center on listening to both his verbal and non-verbal communication.
Self Concept is also revealed in the film and can be best understood from a Relational Dialectics Theory (RDT) perspective. This is from the point of view that interpersonal relationships reflect tensions (contradictions conflicts,) which are revealed in dialectical tensions (communication interaction). Initially, Ann is criticized by her friends for adopting a black teenager and actually referring to him as son. However, both Ann and Michael are determined to change his situation for the better, the boy needed family as Ann explains to her friends and Michael has to prevail amid life’s challenges.
DeVito, Joseph. A. Interpersonal Messages Communication and Relationship Skills. MA: Allyn and Bacon, 2008
Erozkan, Atilgan. The Effect of Communication Skills and Interpersonal Problem Solving Skills on Social Self-Efficacy. 2013. Theory & Practice, 13(2): 739-745