Interpersonal communication essay

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An abundant supply of real-world examples of interpersonal communication techniques is the film industry. Through examination of how communication theories are used in movies, academics can quickly understand how to apply them in practical settings. This essay will look at interpersonal interactions in order to provide more light on relationship difficulties. Mrs. Doubtfire, a 1993 film, will be used as the major source in this essay.

The plot of Mrs. Doubtfire

The plot of Mrs. Doubtfire was designed to depict a marriage that ended in divorce. The father, Daniel, who adored his children, was only able to spend a limited amount of time with them as a result of the divorce. He was only allowed to meet his children once in a week. In an attempt to gain more access to his children, Daniel discovers that his wife is recruiting a nanny, whom he disguises to be one and impresses his wife, Miranda. He, therefore, gets the job and becomes an available dad to his children. The film is cantered on the conflicts that relationships undergo and how people can overcome them. The film also portrays the use of humour as a way of reducing tension in conflicting relationships. This essay will examine the use of the concepts mentioned above and come to a conclusion.

Conflicts in relationships

In most cases, the main result of clashes in a relationship is relationship deterioration. Deterioration is a stage where parties experience less bonding which leads to the downside of relationship progression, (DeVito, 2007). The concept is mainly evident in the first scenes of the movie. A statement made by Miranda to her husband explaining how they have grown apart shows the feeling of having a longer social distance between the two; This shows a marriage deterioration, which in this case, I consider to be a relationship decay.

Not only does the concept reveal to the viewer how the marriage is deteriorating but also the characters communicate to other on the same. The concept has also been well applied since it shows the effect of the same on other people, in this case, the children. They are heartbroken and do not like the fact that they have limited access to their dad.

The consequences of the deteriorating relationship are divorce, and the couple decides to have shared custody of their children. Such a stage is referred to as dissolution, (DeVito, 2007). The long-term effect is the loss of trust, which the couple will need to build a fresh if they happen to get back together.

Repairing relationship

The second concept that's well displayed in the film is the act of improving relationships. DeVito (2007), describes this stage as one that consists of two main components: interpersonal repair and intrapersonal repair. The later entails finding out what went wrong and came up with ways of solving the difficulties while the former describes the process of discussing the problems that the relationship is facing, the corrections that the parties would like to see and also what each party is willing to do to make it happen.

Not only does Daniel go out of his way to fix his relationship with his wife, but also that of his children. He suggests that they should go to a family therapist once his wife raises the alarm that things are not going on well in the family. He also comes up with the idea of taking a vacation. However, the movie lays more weight on repairing the relationship between the children and the father than it does on improving the relationship between the husband and the wife. The primary example is where Daniel becomes the nanny, who teaches the children what is right and wrong, cooks for them, and does the main house chores. The results are that he can tell the perfect father that he wanted to be, to his children.

Through repairing the relationship, the parents can plan together with the aim of having the rest of the family enjoy the benefits. The couple also learns how to communicate in a more efficient manner. Their primary interest is having the children live a better life, as opposed to the previous one which was resentment and revenge.


The movie is a source of scholarly information that can help scholars with interest in communication. The fact that not all movies have a happy ending is well evident. However, the ending could not have been the desire of the couple, but it helps in bringing the family together. In real life, the solution to most problems is not what most parties wish in most cases, but once they embrace it, some level of understanding takes place. The movie shows that relationship deterioration can be repaired, hence posing the challenge to divorced parents and other types of relationships that are not working.


DeVito, Joseph A. Interpersonal Communication Book, The, 13/E. New York, NY: Pearson International, 2007.

March 10, 2023
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