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What Dreams May Come: Identifying And Addressing Conflict

1956 words - 8 pages

The film I chose to focus upon for the purposes of this reflection paper is titled What Dreams May Come. I have considered this piece to be my favorite since I first came upon it more than ten years ago, and was pleased to be assigned the responsibility of identifying conflict; as I had not realized that this content existed prior to the completion of this assignment. I had always highlighted the cinematography, emotional attachment of the characters, and progressive ideation of the afterlife when reflecting upon the film. I still value these attributes, though now I am more able to understand that the impetus for the characters’ closeness is often rooted in their ability to properly address conflict.
This film depicts a happily married couple with two teenage children whose lives seem idyllic. They are educated, financially successful individuals who possess a genuine love of both their children and their chosen professions. Tragically, the children are killed in an auto accident at the beginning of the film; leaving both the mother and father (Chris and Annie) to cope with the loss of their children. Annie blames herself for their deaths because she allowed her focus on work to impede upon her time with the children. Four years later, just as Annie is beginning to reclaim her life with the help of her loving husband, Chris is killed in yet another auto accident which is also related to Annie’s job. This unbearable loss creates tremendous inner turmoil which drives Annie to suicide, and thus, to her own hell. The majority of the film is set in Heaven, where the children are blissfully happy, though concerned over their mother’s state. Chris, however, is not sated to just be concerned for her. He is determined to overcome what is considered by all to be impossible; rescuing his soul mate from the hell in which she has been imprisoned due to her own self-hatred.
The term, “Interpersonal Conflict”, is defined in our textbook as “Disagreement between or among connected individuals who perceive their goals as incompatible: close friends, lovers, colleagues, family members” (Hocker & Wilmot, Folger and Cahn& Abigail). Throughout this film, there are far fewer instances of dramatic interpersonal conflict than I had expected. I found this surprising due to the depth of interconnectedness among the family, especially the parents, Chris and Annie. The parent characters’ deep emotional ties seem to cause dissuasion of argument, and opt for a more productive collaboration approach to conflict; even in the face of divorce and death. Other portions of the film concerning the family’s life while alive reveal conflicts that are very properly addressed; displaying positive effects of conflict, consequences which result in compromise, empathy, asking questions to define the conflict, and the general finality of acceptance. It is possible that the affluent culture in which they are a part may have influenced the family’s ability to attain above-average...

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