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“The Break-up" Film Analysis
Transcript of “The Break-up" Film Analysis
the right amount of positive energy
is doomed to fail. How we handle a
conflict can either make or break a
relationship. John Gottman's "Four Horsemen" can break it, and should be better understood in order to eliminate it's negative process from occuring. Summary The Break-Up is a romantic comedy
without the typical "happy ending". At the
beginning of the movie, a small disagreement between the main characters, Gary Grobowski, played by Vince Vaughn, and Brooke Meyers, played by Jennifer Aniston, escalates into calling their relationship for quits. When both parties refuse to move out of their shared flat, they remain living together as hostile roommates until the weaker party eventually admits defeat, and have a war of revenge on their ex's fueled by mean-spirited suggestions of tactics from friends and family. As the competition to drive one another out keeps growing, Brooke eventually comes to the realization that she's not fighting for her flat as much as she is fighting to save her relationship with Gary.
The Four Horsemen As we learned in class, The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse concept was identified by John Gottman. He notes that these four destructive communication styles can potentially end any relationship, no matter what the situation is. These four destructive styles are criticism/critical start-up, defensiveness, contempt, and stonewalling. Criticism involves attacking the personality of the other person in the given conflict, instead of focusing on the specific behavior that is causing this problem. An example of this would be to call someone irresponsible and lazy for forgetting to turn off the lights. You are attacking them personally rather than just stating the problem that is bothering you. Criticizing ones character can often lead to defensiveness as the process of putting up a wall between yourself and the other person, and seeing oneself as the victim in order to keep away from any attacks. Examples of defensiveness are such things as making excuses, disagreeing with the other person in the conflict without hearing them out, and cross-complaining. When contempt comes into play, it is basically the strategy of looking down on another person by attacking them psychologically, whether it be through name-calling, mockery, body language, or tone of voice. The final and most destructive horsemen of the four is stonewalling. When stonewalling occurs, total withdrawal from the relationship is what happens. This is usually done slowly through procedures, such as the silent treatment, followed by complete removal of one’s physical presence in the other persons company. Critical Build-Up/Criticism Defensiveness & Contempt Stonewalling Gary and Brooke insult one
another's families and accomplishments
while defending themselves against one another with more petty insults. Beginning process of stonewalling Gary, Brooke makes him leave the bowling team they are a part of with some friends. Brooke asks for help with the dishes, and it escalates into much more. And in conclusion... Would I recommend this movie to
better understand John Gottman's
Four Horsemen concept?
What have I learned from studying
this concept and applying it to my
One small misunderstanding can turn into something so much bigger and more damaging than what was intended. In many situations where it feels easier to walk away from a conflict in order to keep it from escalating, often times the complete opposite effect take place, and ruins a relationship forever. From studying and researching these four destructive skills, I have come to a better understanding of how they work against one another in reaching a solution, and it has also helped me understand how natural it is for people to react with these four communication skills when put into a conflicted situation, especially when they know no other ways of communicating or making themselves heard. Handling a conflict with more conflict will never end in peace.