In the movie 500 Days of Summer director Marc Webb creates a scenario that is all too relatable as a young man struggles to understand the concept of love and friendship and how the two are connected or disconnected. The movie is so highly relatable in fact, that theories of human interpersonal communication can be found throughout the entire film.
As the character Tom copes with the emotional roller-coaster that is Summer Finn we can dissect almost every move that is made using concepts taken from interpersonal communication and ways that he could have avoided or eased the situation. As I analyze each aspect of the film it is important to remember that this film is based on the idea of a friendship that never fully develops into a full romantic relationship, skipping some steps that typically happen in relationship development.
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In chapter nine of our text we learn about interpersonal communication in close relationships. In the movie we see a relationship between Tom and his younger sister Rachel immediately as the film begins. In the idea that Family Communication is Role-Driven, it is stated that the norms of family roles are largely important in how we communicate (Adler, Ronald B., Proctor, Russell F. 2014. Pg. 285). This idea is based on the stereotypical view of each member of a family and focuses on brothers and sisters developing strong bonds up into adulthood. The relationship between Tom and Rachel is anything but the norm of an average family.
When entering the scene Rachel is portrayed as one of the only people suitable to relieve the heartbreak that is happening to Tom, showing us that the sibling bond between the two is something even his friendships can’t compete with. The role of Rachel to Tom can be seen as the fixer in the family, or as the one who sees things much clearer, a realist of sorts. This is contradictory from what we usually know to be the role of a younger sister in American families. Tom is portrayed as much more of a dreamer and romantic than Rachel which is highly unconventional.
In one scene Rachel tells Tom, I know you think that she was the one, but I don’t, I think you’re just remembering the good stuff, next time you look back I really think you should look again, This is a major shift in the film where Tom remembering Summer goes from happy to dark. Rachel is seen as the voice of reason to Tom, and someone he can rely on to keep him moving and motivated. The use of a character like Rachel is usually portrayed in films by friends of the main character and very rarely do you see a sibling bond in which a younger sister is helping her brother to discover the world in a new light.
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