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The 2006 romantic film “The break-Up” directed by Peyton Reed

The 2006 romantic film “The break-Up” directed by PeytonReed offers exemplary scenes that display various relationshipcommunication aspects. In the film, Brooke Meyers (played by JenniferAniston) and Gary Grobowski (played by Vince Vaughn) as a couple havetrouble in the expression of intimacy and bonding. Several scenes inthe film are a testament to the various topics covered in Ronald B.Adler and Russell F. Proctor II book, “Looking Out, Looking In.”In fact, the film demonstrates several aspects of communication in arelationship covered by the book’s chapter 8 to chapter 11. Thefilm’s plot commences at the instance Brooke Meyers confronts GaryGrobowski’s reluctance to show efforts at supporting her, whichraises a serious conflict between them leading to their eventualbreak up (The Break-UpDVD). Throughout the film,several communication factors in a relationship are evident. Thesefactors include bonding, intimacy, defensiveness, and compromising.Although the characters explicitly portray the latter two factors,bonding and intimacy between the two partners are lacking. In fact,the lack of bonding and intimacy in the form of shared activitiesbetween them tense the relationship. This paper will evaluate severalinstances in the film that display the theories of bonding, intimacy,defensiveness, and compromise.

Intimacy is the essence of relationships. Although a precisedefinition of intimacy is problematic, it takes various dimensionsthat can either be physical, intellectual, emotional, or through thesharing of activities (Adler and Proctor II 305).The film’s plot develops on Brooke Meyer’s demand on Gary to showsome level of appreciation of her efforts in the relationship. Inthis instance, the intimacy dimension of shared activities is ondisplay. According to Adler and Proctor, shared activities areeverything that people in a relationship do together to enhance theirbond. They argue that shared activities transform the relationshipfrom an impersonal one to an interpersonal one. However, Gary andBrooke evidently lack this dimension of intimacy in theirrelationship when Brooke asks Gary for help in preparing dinner fortheir big family meeting (TheBreak-Up DVD). Instead, Garyrefusesthe plea and offsets a tense mood that plays out at the family dinnerwhere Brooke’s father, mother, and brother demonstrate their senseof shared activities with their synchronized singing. The aftermathof the family dinner is fraught with arguments between the two witheach describing how they sacrifice to help each other on severaloccasions. However, Brooke validly states her case by emphasizingthat participating in each other’s activities exemplifies that oneappreciates the partner’s preferences despite the activities notbeing favorites. Shared activities help foster a sense of intimacyeven if inequality is manifest in a relationship (Jamieson482). In fact, Brooke’s insistence for Gary to accompany herto Ballet dance shows is to symbolize their bond as a love couple.However, Gary seems to be unaware of this concept and counters Brookeby being defensive about his contribution in the relationship.

Defensiveness, which is an individual’s attempt at protecting oneself’s vulnerabilities and weaknesses, is demonstrated by both Garyand Brooke. Defensiveness creates a contentious climate in arelationship and makes partners irresponsible for their harmfulbehaviors (Cobb 15). The breakup of Gary and Brooke commences withthe respective declaration of their private spaces within the samehouse. In the process, each one of them tries to outdo each other’spretense of not having feelings of love. This pretentious situationleads to both of them acting in irresponsible manners whilejustifying their actions. For example, Gary holds a stripping poolgame at the house in response to Brooke going out with men dates(The Break Up DVD). Although each of them is hurt by whatthey are doing to each other, neither is willing to admit their truefeelings because of their pride.

However, compromise in the film is evident at the end though notfruitful. According to Adler and Proctor, compromising is arelationship tool that enables conflicting parties to reach anagreement that benefit both of them but with each sacrificing part oftheir goals (Adler 385). In the film,Brooke is the first to compromise her pride by buying two tickets togo to a live concert. She invites Gary in the hope that the concertevent will offer them a chance for reconciliation. Although initiallyreceptive to the friendly gesture, Gary backtracks and skips theevent out of suspicion and pride. Consequently, his actions devastatethe relationship to the point of no return. Even though Gary alsocompromises his stance and agrees to fulfil Brooke’s request ofhelping in the house chores, it does little to salvage therelationship. In this case, the relationship could be salvageable ifboth of them could have accepted to let go part of their stances andfind a way of living with each other.


Adler, Ronald B and Russell F Proctor II. Lookingout, Looking In. 13. Boston: Wadsworth,2011. Print.

Cobb, Nathan. How toOvercome Defensiveness. Los Angeles:Cobb Counselling and Consulting, 2007. Print.

Jamieson, Lynn. &quotIntimacy Transformed? ACritical Look at the `Pure Relationship` .&quot Sociology(1999): 4477-494. Print.

The Break-Up.Dir. Peyton Reed. Perf. Vince Vaughn and Jennifer Aniston. 2006. DVD.