This paper focuses on the role of communication in the movie Jerry Maguire. It raises a lot of ethical issues, such as the value of the human relations. It examines how a person can improve due to his life’s difficulties and analyzes different relationships between the characters. It explains how the main hero uses his verbal and non-verbal communication, and how it improves during the film.
The main character, Jerry Maguire, played by Tom Cruise, is a sports agent. At the beginning of the film, he is at the top of his career in a famous company called SMI. However, soon Jerry realizes that his life is not the way he would like. He is trying to find himself and understands that the reality is not as he has imagined. He goes through many betrayals and deceptions of those colleagues whom he has called his friends. Throughout the whole film, Jerry is dealing with many different situations, and he has to make personal and business decisions. He tries to rise to the top again and become the man that he has always wanted to be (O’Connell, Mohr & Hunt, 1996).
The perception plays a significant role in Jerry’s life. At first, the viewer sees the main hero as a successful sports agent. Jerry identifies himself as a very busy person; he has a lot of clients and receives hundreds of calls a day. It is the first, a little bit delusive perception of Jerry. Step by step, the viewer realizes that everything is not so ideal in Jerry’s life, with his fiancée and career. In the course of the film, Jerry appears selfish and unethical to his clients. He does not care about their health, families and their life.
The first impression changes after one revealing scene, in which Jerry’s client gets a concussion. When Jerry visits his client at a hospital, he meets his family there. The man’s son says that it will be better for his father to stop playing due to the health problems. In return, Jerry shows his egoistic and careless position. Later, he asks himself, who he has become. And the answer is obvious: just another shark in a suit. After Jerry’s reflections on his actions, his perception of himself is beginning to change.
Jerry writes his personal mission statement titled “The Things We Think and Do Not Say,” in which summarizes the aims and values of the company. He speaks about his ideas, where he would like to go as an agent. He shares this statement with his colleagues, and it seems that he meets the “approval”. He is proud and thinks that he has done a correct thing. However, his fellow workers are deceiving him as they know that this is the end of his career in their company.
Suddenly everything goes awry in Jerry’s life. He loses his job, clients, and even his fiancée leaves him. As a viewer can see, the life of the main hero falls to pieces in every aspect. However, among the misfortune and hardship that he encounters, Jerry keeps his last client, Rod Tidwell. This player is his last hope. Together, they are trying to return their success. After writing the mission statement that has led to his failure, it seems that Jerry has lost everything. However, these events of his life put him on the right path to becoming more successful as a person and an agent. While watching the movie, a viewer believes that Jerry has made a right choice in deciding which course he needs to take.
Throughout the film, Jerry is dealing with some ethical decisions. People who face some moral choices have to realize that sometimes even another man’s destiny depends on their decisions. It is very responsible and essential to make a right decision. However, Jerry often behaves unethically, putting his interests and career issues to the fore, but ignoring the players as individuals and not paying any attention to their privacy and personal problems. So it was with the player with a concussion. This situation describes the relationships between Jerry and his clients while working for SMI (O’Connell, Mohr & Hunt, 1996).
The relationships in the film play a significant role. There are several types of the relationships: between friends, colleagues, Jerry’s relations with the clients, and also with his fiancée. First of all, the film-maker depicts complicated personal as well as professional relationships between Jerry and his colleagues. After Jerry’s discharge, his colleague and “friend” Bob Sugar starts stealing his clients, persuading them to join him. Such behavior is nothing else than betrayal. This situation in the film clearly shows how weak the relations between fellow workers and so-called “friends” are.
Jerry’s “love” life is complicated and can also tell a lot about his character. Jerry is a womanizer which the viewers can learn from the scene at his bachelor party to which he invites a large number of his ex-girlfriends. Finally, he quarrels and splits up with his fiancée, telling that he does not love her, despite the intentions to marry her. He is not sure about his feelings. His actions are spontaneous which indicates his unsteadiness and volatility. The viewers may see it in his relations with another woman, Dorothy, his employee. When she tells him that she is going to move to another city for a new job, Jerry asks her to marry him, not realizing if he loves her or not.
The viewers of the film should also pay attention to Jerry’s use of some verbal and non-verbal cues (Alberts, Nakayama& Martin, 2013). For example, it is interesting to analyze the scene, in which he is talking to the clients after his termination. He is showing the interest, trying to gain the clients’ sympathy, and making them do what he wants. However, he has lost trustworthiness due to his dismissal. Another crucial moment in his verbal communication is when he talks to Rod. It is the first scene when he expresses his personal point of view. He recommends Rod to stop thinking of himself as an employee. Instead, he should act as a free agent. He advises Rod to brand himself, to be competitive, and to be in the best bargaining position. Jerry recommends his client and friend Rod to be more authentic and show his strong sides. These two examples of Jerry’s verbal communication are important because they show how he has changed after his termination. He speaks in a radically different manner than before. In the first example, he tries to gain his clients’ trust and to show his interest in their personalities. In the second situation with Rod, Jerry expresses his thoughts to help his friend to win.
Speaking about Jerry’s use of non-verbal communication, it also changes and improves through the movie. The clear example is at the beginning. Jerry feels not at ease with a child Ray. This observation is important because most of people like spending time with the children as they are direct and innocent. However, Jerry feels uncomfortable as he is used to spend time only with the adults. Perhaps, he feels this discomfort as he is used to manipulate and control people. But Jerry’s attitude towards children changes till the end of the film. While walking with Dorothy in the park, he communicates with Ray and feels happy and relaxed (Alberts, Nakayama& Martin, 2013). This example of Jerry’s non-verbal communication is essential. It shows how the person’s emotions and attitudes to other people may evolve, and how the life’s difficulties can improve the personality.
Jerry Maguire used several forms of Mass Media Communication. Speaking about its role in his life, as for me, it hurts more than help. He uses a land line phone to speak with the clients. He also types his mission statement and gives it to his colleagues. This final use of Mass Media Communication, when Jerry presents his mission statement, leads him to the termination. As for me, media does not help him to achieve his aim of ‘Getting Paid’. He fails his final purpose. Not proper use of communication hurts him a lot. There are some moments in the film, in which Jerry could have used much better communication.
As for me, Jerry could have improved his poor communication. After his termination, he is asking for support. He encourages his colleagues to leave with him. His departure has left a bitter after taste. Of course, his emotions have prevailed. However, it would be better if he just expressed his gratitude towards his co-workers and thanked them for cooperation. He should have behaved in more adequate way.
The second situation, in which communication should have been better, is that with Rod Tidwell in his locker room. After Rod’s refusal to “dance”, both men begin quarrelling. They scream to each other, and it is the first time they “communicate”. Jerry could have improved his communication skills in this situation as well. Instead of the escalation of the conflict, Jerry should have shown Rod how much he is doing for him.
To sum up, communication plays a great role in Jerry Maguire. This film criticizes materialism and exalts personal relationships. The hero faces different moral choices, choices between his conveniences and benefits, and the humaneness. Throughout the movie, the main character is changing and improving, influenced by the events of his life. Jerry is learning useful and valuable lessons that the life gives him, and gradually evolves. The viewers can see the evolution of his verbal and non-verbal communication and his attitude to other people.