An interpersonal communication theory

The goal of this 5 paragraph college-level analysis (typed & double spaced) is to apply an interpersonal communication theory from our text book to specific communication behaviors in a movie.

You could start by selecting a good quality movie that you can access and see a couple of times.

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You will need lots of specific examples from the movie, so make sure you can see it again to capture dialogue and to describe non-verbal behaviors.

For this assignment you will be utilizing Knapp’s Stages of Relational development to analyze your chosen film. You will break this theoretical framework into three major sections: Stages of coming together, the relational maintenance stages, and the stages of coming apart. Each of these sections will account for one paragraph. These paragraphs may be a bit long, but that is okay.

Use the following format to organize your analysis. There should be a total of five paragraphs. Your paper should be roughly 5 pages.

Make sure your paper has a creative title that gives us an idea of what the paper will be about. Avoid titles like, “Film Analysis,” or “Film Paper.” Those are boring and you are better than that.


Offer a single paragraph that contains all 5 of these ideas. Do not number them–write them into an effective introductory paragraph.

Start with an attention getter. Do not ask questions here. Questions do not lend themselves to strong academic analysis. Find a more creative way to spark interest in the reader.

This should lead to your very brief introduction of the movie including its underlined title.
Explain your reason for wanting to use this film and explain why it is worthy for analysis.
Briefly introduce Knapp’s Stages of Relational Development, and why it is appropriate for analyzing this film. Do not explain every aspect of the theory here (save that for the body). You should simply give us an idea of what the theory is, and why it’s useful to analyze your chosen film.
Give us a clear preview of your body paragraphs (“First we will analyze…” “Next…” Finally…”).


Write 3 major body paragraphs. You should have 1 for each section of your theory or principle.
The body of the paper should be more concerned with how the theory applies to specific examples within the movie than with the story of the film. Do not simply recount what happens in the movie. I am more interested in your ability to explain the theory by using examples from the movie to illustrate the principle in action. You should work to match the ideas in the theory with actual behaviors in the film. You should use specific examples, situations and/or dialogue from the film to support your point.
Group the theory into three major sections.

For example, Knapp’s theory has 10 parts. You cannot develop 10 points well in a paper of this length. Parts of the theory can be grouped together. Each paragraph of the body will be at least a page long so that including the introduction and conclusion your paper will be over 4 pages long.

Also ensure that you follow the pattern of your chapter examples in each main paragraph in the body of your paper. 1. Start with an introduction and explain what the book teaches. Explain this in your owns words, do not quote the text directly but explain what the book means. 2. Describe the example from the movie that supports your idea. 3. Explain what the example from the movie teaches us about the theory from the book. Generate ideas about what should or should not be done differently.


Your single paragraph conclusion should:

Summarize the main ideas that you have covered in your paper.
State what you learned from viewing the film for this paper in this manner.
Explain how you might apply this information to your own life.
Explore what others might learn from your analysis.

Keep in mind, you may need to do some meta-theoretical analysis. In other words, when you talk about the stages of coming apart, you might also need to explore concepts from the chapter on conflict that apply.

Some stages of Knapp’s model will require more thought and analysis than others. For example, the Initiating stage is brief, and the communication is not extensive, so this stage will not require a great deal of analysis. Whereas the sections on Intensifying or Differentiating will require more thought. Moreover, not every one of Knapp’s stages will apply as directly to your chosen film. That is okay. Just explain why. For example, maybe the relationship you analyze does not end in “Termination.” In that case, you would spend a bit more time analyzing other stages like “Circumscribing.”

Yes, it must be a film. It must be fictional. It cannot be animated.

Tips: Do not choose a film that is primarily action (like Transformers)as these films may not offer enough material for relationship analysis. Find a movie with a clear relationship.

You do not need to write a works cited page.

Potential Films: This is not an exhaustive list. These are just some films that students have used in the past.

American beauty Better than Chocolate Election

Flawless Groundhog day In and Out

Liar, Liar My life So Far The other Sister

The Truman Show The Straight Story Sweet and Lowdown

Tin Cup The Wedding Singer War of the Roses

Truly, madly, deeply Pretty in Pink Driving Miss Daisy

Pretty woman Do the Right Thing Tootsie

Field of Dreams The commitments The Mambo Kings

The Power Of One On Golden Pond Late for Dinner

Rambling Rose Enchanted April Scent of a Woman

A Few Good Men The piano Searching for Bobby Fischer

Fearless The Paper As good As it Gets

Big Daddy Fight Club The Full Monty

The Green Mile The Insider The mighty

Muriel’s Wedding One Fine Day The Sixth Sense
Story of Us Swingers Shall we dance?

The Wood Rain Man Annie Hall

Uncle Buck Fried Green Tomatoes The Trip to Bountiful

Boyz n’ the hood Frankie and Johnny Home Alone

Cape Fear My Girl The Waterhouse

The Doctor Little man Tate 29thStreet

Husbands & Wives Mr. Baseball The Playboys

Mrs. Doubtfire Schindler’s list Joy luck Club

Reality bites Being John Malkovich Boy’s Don’t Cry

Chasing Amy Girl Interrupted Happy Texas

Jerry McGuire Michael Notting Hill

Patch Adams This is my Father Romy and Michelle’s high school

You’ve got mail The color Purple Planes, Trains, automobiles

Only the Lonely Witness Fatal Attraction

Grand Canyon Dances with the Wolves Long time Companion

Howard’s end The Player Silence of the Lambs

The Fisher King Paradise Regarding Henry

A league of their Own A River Runs Through It Prelude to a Kiss

Philadelphia A Bronx Tale Shadowlands

Remains of the Day Maurice Pricilla, Queen of the Desert

Memento Victor/Victoria Tumbleweeds

Best in Show Chocolate Like water for chocolate

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