Film able to communicate in effect and appropriate ways

Film Analysis on the Pursuit of Happiness

In the film the Pursuit of Happyness, which is about
a determined father who struggling financially and trying to make a great life
for his son after his wife had left them. Just from the title of the movie, you
can see how their can be many concepts that we can relate back to this class.

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The reason being is that in order to pursue happiness, you need to understand how
to deal with certain challenges that arise and that can take a lot of good
communication behaviors to get through those challenges. Also, pursing
happiness is not always going to be easy, conflict will arise and it is a
matter of how you handle the situation. In this movie, there was a lot of face
to face interaction and communicating through the telephone versus emails and
text messages. The main character Chris Gardner was able to demonstrate many
communication concepts, behaviors and theories throughout this movie.

Throughout this movie, Chris showed interpersonal behaviors
by having to meet with doctors to sell his machine and just in general by
taking to others in the movie. He also showed, actions of a collectivist culture
by showing that he was willing to do everything he could for his family and not
just himself. He worked hard trying to sell his bone density scanners to get
his family out of the financial situation they were in. Even though he was
working very hard, his wife was not able to handle their financial struggles
and decided to leave Chris and their son to go to New York. She demonstrated
uncertainty avoidance by ignoring Chris when he would try and make conversations
and decided to leave because their future was so unpredictable and she did not believe
that things were going to get better. At this time in their life, their gender
roles were switched. Chris’s wife was the one earning the money by taking
double shifts and was also coming home to cook for the family. Technically, she
was playing both roles, while Chris was trying to sell his bone density
devices. One thing that Chris did show was masculinity by showing dominance and
letting his wife know that he was going to keep their son. He was able to think
logically to figure out how to survive with basically no money at all. Chris
took many risks in order to survive and to earn his spot at the office to
become a broker.

In the situation that
Chris was in, he had to show communication competence which is being able to communicate
in effect and appropriate ways in a given situation (Floyd). He showed
effective communication when interviewing for the internship to be a stock
broker. When going into his interview, he had showed up very unpresentable, he
was in a t-shirt and jacket with paint all over. He was able to explain why he
was right for this job and why they should choose him, even coming to an
interview the way he did. By explaining why, he presented to the interview the
way he did was self- disclosure. Not only did he show effectiveness, but he
showed that he was able to communicate appropriately. During his interview, he
was able to adapt to the situation knowing that him rushing from sitting in
jail after not paying his tickets, may ruin this opportunity. Instead of not
showing up to the interview, he adapted to the situation and knew how to be

Furthermore, Chris showed a lot of characteristics of self-concept.

Not only did Chris understand that he made horrible decisions in life, like
investing all his life savings selling the machines, but he knew his self-worth.

He had high self-esteem because he had absolutely nothing, and he knew he was
going to get this job and become successful. People with high self-esteem do
not stop once they fail, they continue to work even harder towards their goal, and
that is exactly wheat Chis demonstrated. In the article “Self-esteem and
subjective well-being revisited”, explains that there is a collective self and a
relational self and I believe that Chris demonstrates both of these by sharing
information with his wife and also his memberships with the brokers.  While demonstrating why he was driven and
determined to become successful, his vocal behaviors were very clear on how he
felt. For example, when he saw the homeless man with what he thought was a time
machine but really it was Chris’s bone density scanner, Chris used volume to
make it known that he wanted that back

Notably, Chris did some social comparison as he was walking
down the streets, especially when he noticed how happy everyone one was coming
out of the stock broker building. All the challenges he faced from getting
kicked out of his place, to having to find homeless shelters to sleep, to
having to fix one of his machines, and riding in taxis he knew he could not
afford, he showed nonverbal communication. Just by looking at his body language
and facial expressions, you can tell how he felt in certain situations. Some nonverbal
communication are movements, gestures, and haptics. Chris showed these with
hugging his son, giving handshakes, and even pulling his wife back by her arm
when she was walking away.

 At one point in the
movie, Chris and his son were invited to a football game and he had one of his
bone density scanners. The CEO had told him to put it in his car but Chris did
not have a car, and his son not knowing that he should not say this, told the
CEO that they did not have a car and Chris screamed in order to distract the
CEO from doing this. That example shows culture in communications and vocal
behaviors. Working as a stock broker was different for Chris and there was a
lot of jargon. Jargon is a type of language that is understood by within that
co culture.

Although, his relationship with his wife was not the
greatest, he demonstrated relationship skill and conflict with his wife and
even his son at times. They had a lot of indirect and direct conflict with one
another. The demand and withdraw pattern was shown when his wife demanded that
he sold all his machines and he really did not want to worry about that,
because he knew he had to sell it.  Throughout
this movie poor listening skill were shown by his wife and by one of the stock
broker guys. While Chris was in the taxi, trying to earn an interview, the man
was showing pseudo listening because he was just trying to figure out the Rubik’s
cube. His wife did not show empathy for Chris because she would just say “whatever”
to everything he was saying. There was clearly conflict between the two of

Emotions can be strenuous and
difficult to manage especially in front of your child. Chris did a good job of controlling
his emotions at times but not all the times. One example of Chris expressing
his emotions was when he locked him and his son up in the bathroom because they
had nowhere to stay. As he was holding his sons head in his lap while he slept,
trying to comfort his son, you can see how hurt and torn he was because of
where they had to stay. He always tried to be happy around his son by playing with
him and making stories up as to why they had to stay in the bathroom. According
to the article I found on emotions, it states “Facial expressions are an important means of communication, as they can
carry inter-personal information, enabling promotion of bonding as well as the
development and regulation of interpersonal relationships. Facial expressions
can be used to communicate emotional states to others and to regulate the
environment by indicating people’s intentions and actions” (PLOS ONE, 2018).

Chris showed a lot of this in the movie because of all the challenges he had to


 In conclusion, I would say that Chris
demonstrated many interpersonal communication skills. He demonstrated a lot of self-esteem
and reflected appraisal by mirroring their judgments at times. As stated in the
article about self-esteem, “It pertains
to people’s perceptions of their life quality which can involve cognitive
evaluations (i.e., life satisfaction) and emotional reactions” (PLOS ONE,
2017). Not only did he do a lot of comparison but he did this with
reference groups and those groups were the stock brokers. Self-fulfilling prophecy
was huge in this movie because he held himself to a high standard as to where
he wanted to be in life. Everything that he would do was to reach the goal he
was trying to reach and it finally paid off in the end. All of this was self-
imposed because all if his expectations influenced his behavior and got him to
where he wanted to be in life.