Aspects Of Interpersonal Communication In City Slickers

1362 words - 5 pages

City Slickers is a movie chalk full of interpersonal communication, conflict, and messages. We watch as Mitch, a sad man without meaning in his life, goes on an adventure to find his smile and what matters most to him. Through conflict, power struggles, and much communication, he arrives at the end of the journey a new man.
Within the first few minutes of the movie, when the three couples are shown boarding the airplane, you see a display of power messages between Phil and his wife. His wife portrays an Aggressive Message with one line “Phil, I’m standing.” It shows that she doesn’t care that he was in the midst of a conversation, only that he was in her way. Phil then responds with a classic Nonassertive Message of “Yes, dear.” He then proceeds to stop his conversation abruptly and move toward their seats in effort to give her what she wants.
Self Concept is how one seems themselves, and it plays a large role in this film. Mitch sees himself deteriorating with old age. Barbara, his wife, points out how each year he finds a new illness or problem with himself as his birthday passes. He projects his concept of his self onto his physical being. He appears to have a low confidence level, a poor outlook on his life and sees himself in increasingly poor manner. That theory is later confirmed when he is at work and he is self disclosing to his boss through the line, “You ever reach a point in your life where you say to yourself, ‘This is the best I’m ever gonna look, the best I’m ever gonna feel, the best I’m ever gonna do, and it ain’t that great’?”
Nonverbal Communication is just what it sounds like, communicating without words. This movie is very good about displaying nonverbal communication toward the audience without breaking the fourth wall. After Mitch’s mother calls he starts inspecting his head and reacts in such a way that we are to infer that he sees signs of hair loss. The next scene shows him on a tram, where he is standing to a man who is very bald and he communicates nonverbally what he is thinking about by staring at this man’s head with a worried look on his face. Another example is when when Mitch is describing Curly’s eyes as crazy from their earlier encounter when Curly did something so drastic that Mitch’s only way of analyzing it is as something only a crazy or unstable person would do, even though he admires the action. Eye messages “have long been regarded as the most important nonverbal message system.”
The next scene shows Mitch at his job, still unsmiling, when his boss enters and plays him a bad radio advertisement. Communication Apprehension is the fear or anxiety in interpersonal communication situations. This comes into play when Mitch is pressured into self disclosure about why his work ethic has decreased and his boss does not respond with affirmation (understanding and empathizing with the discloser). He then replies with a prosocial response, but is obviously less willing to openly communicate. His boss then...

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