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- Silver Linings Playbook was definitely one of the more modern romantic comedies that displayed a lot more reality than the typical romantic drama. It starts off with Pat’s mother, Dolores, bringing him back home from a mental health institution since those were the only conditions in which Pat could leave the hospital. The main reason why Pat ended up there is because he beat his wife after finding out that she was cheating on him, which then led him to become diagnosed with bipolar disorder. After coming home from the institution, he asks his parents about his wife Nikki and makes it obvious that he wants to reunite with her even though his parents tell him that she’s gone and that she left him. Pat tries to stay positive and find the “silver lining” in everything, and makes that his goal, along with trying to get back with his wife Nikki by improving himself. Pat then meets a woman named Tiffany who also has problems of her own. They end having a love/hate relationship and most of this can be explained by the science of interpersonal relations.
- One of the concepts of attraction is highlighted in the film when Pat runs into the lady he worked for when he used to have a job. The lady tells him that he looks good because he lost a lot of weight. This explains what Miller (2015) is trying to say when he mentions that “Men’s bodies are most attractive when their waists are only slightly narrower than their hips, with a WHR OF 0.9 (p. 79).” Another concept of attraction, proximity, is brought up when Pat accepts an invitation from his best friend Ronnie to have dinner with him and his family. Ronnie said that he missed Pat and wanted someone to talk to. Pat was hesitant at first but accepted Ronnie’s invitation for dinner. This is where Pat meets Tiffany, the girl he obviously thinks is attractive because the first thing he looks at when they meet is her cleavage, along with continuous staring. This explains how Pat never would’ve met Tiffany and wouldn’t have been attracted to her if they didn’t meet in the first place. Since Tiffany lives close by and is the sister of Ronnie’s wife, Pat and Tiffany got to meet each other. This shows us the power of proximity. Miller (2015) proves this by saying that “More often than not, our friendships and romances grow out of interactions with those who are nearby (p. 69).”
- During the dinner that Pat got invited to by his friend Ronnie, Pat and Tiffany started talking about drugs and all of the different kinds of drugs they both had taken after arguing about something else. They seemed to enjoy talking about the topic of drugs because it’s something they had in common. This has a lot to do with the attributes of friendships because Miller (2015) mentions companionship in one of the attributes of friendships and points out that “They share interests and activities, and consider each other to be sources of recreation and fun (p. 214).” Pat starts liking Tiffany as a friend and asks her to go to dinner with him. Tiffany starts disclosing a lot of information about herself and telling him all of the sexual experiences she’s had with a lot of different people. This shows that Tiffany trusts Pat with this kind of information, which is the 5th rule of friendship that is described by Miller (2015) which says “Trust and confide in your partner (p. 222).”
- After the dinner that Pat got invited to by Ronnie, Tiffany told Pat to walk her home because she didn’t feel comfortable at the dinner table anymore because of her sister Veronica. While they were walking, Tiffany mentions sex because she noticed the way that Pat was looking at her when they met for the first time and how he wouldn’t stop staring at her cleavage or her face. Miller (2015) explains this misunderstanding in the topic of flirting in communication. He says that “Actions that are intended to convey sexual interest involve even more eye contact, smiling and touching, more intimate paralanguage, and smaller interpersonal distances than friendly flirtatiousness does (p. 154).” This shows us that Tiffany misinterpreted Pat’s nonverbal communication because all he did was make a lot of eye contact more than any of the other signs listed as signs of seduction. Tiffany gets mad after Pat says no to sex and starts giving him mixed signals in return. An example of miscommunication in the movie also occurs when Pat and Tiffany go on a “friendly” date together to dinner. Tiffany starts telling Pat a lot of personal information about herself and her sexual experiences with other males and even females. Pat starts judging Tiffany and starting thinking that she was crazier than he thought even though he didn’t actually say this. Tiffany attempted to read his mind and relied on his nonverbal signs to tell her what he was thinking even though he didn’t say anything that made it seem like he actually thought she was a pervert or a slut. Miller (2015) mentions one of the problems with miscommunication which is mindreading and says that “Mindreading occurs when people assume that they understand their partners’ thoughts, feelings, and opinions without asking (p. 167).” This led them to get into a huge fight in the middle of the restaurant. Tiffany started making a huge scene with everyone in the restaurant watching her and Pat, and stormed out of the restaurant after yelling at him.
- After meeting Tiffany and creating a friendship with her, Pat still finds himself trying to reunite with Nikki and getting her to like him again. This leads him to write a letter for her and asks Tiffany to give it to Nikki. At first, Tiffany wanted to help him and give Nikki the letter before their argument at the dinner, but after that she declined and told Pat that she wasn’t going to do it anymore because she feels like she isn’t getting what she wants and isn’t feeling like there’s any equity between them. Miller (2015) mentions this when he talks about equitable relationships in interdependency. He explains that “Equity theorists extend the framework of social exchange to assert that people are more satisfied in relationships in which there is proportional justice, which means that each partner gains benefits from the relationship that are proportional to his or her contributions to it (p. 200).” The fact that Tiffany didn’t want to do Pat a favor and give Nikki the letter unless Pat did something for her shows that she prefers exchange relationships where “People do favors for others expecting to be repaid by receiving comparable benefits in return (Miller, 2015, p. 198).”
- After Tiffany spends so much time trying to convince Pat to do a dance project with her, he finally agrees to do it. Pat’s friend Danny walks into the dance studio while they’re attempting to dance and doesn’t exactly like what he sees. Danny thinks that the dancing seems off and offers to show Pat what he should be doing. Pat seems okay with this at first, but then he notices how attractive Tiffany looks and how Danny is getting way too close to her while they’re dancing. This is the first time Pat starts feeling jealous and interrupts them while telling Danny that he gets what Danny means. Miller (2015) talks about jealousy and the unique element about it. He says that “To be jealous, one must have a relationship to lose and a rival to whom to lose it (p. 315).” In this case, Danny is the rival who threatens to lure Tiffany away from Pat. Miller (2015) also talks about the different kinds of responses to jealousy and we see more of that in the scene where Pat and Tiffany get to the dance competition (p. 325). Before the competition starts, Tiffany sees Nikki (Pat’s ex wife) there and starts panicking and feeling extremely jealous because she didn’t expect Nikki to be there at all. This causes Tiffany to go to the bar and get drunk and purse other men. It’s interesting because this is something that more men than women do in response to jealousy according to Miller (2015). For example, “In contrast, men said they would strive to protect their egos; they planned to get drunk, confront and threaten their rival, and pursue other women (p. 325).”
- This movie was definitely a little more difficult to relate to a lot of the concepts of interpersonal relationships because of how modern it was. For example, Tiffany wasn’t exactly the traditional female, so this made it more challenging to describe the differences in gender between males and females relating to interpersonal relations. The best part about this movie was that Pat and Tiffany had a special kind of bond because they both had problems and had to go through a lot of therapy. They both lost their spouses which brought them closer together because of those similarities. They did argue a lot but they also cared about each other and worked hard to build a relationship together. Even though there were some concepts that didn’t agree with the science behind intimate relationships, a lot of them did connect to the book which really shows how much of the behaviors between two people that relationship science can actually predict and explain.
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