Life as We Know It Concept Paper

Last Updated: 07 Apr 2020
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Movie Concept Paper The Movie Life As We Know It stars Katherine Heigl and Josh Duhamel who play the main characters Holly and Messer. These two were brought together when their best friends married and tried to start a life together. Sadly, one year after they had their first baby, Sophie, they were killed in a car accident. Holly and Messer were left their roles as parents to Sophie. After moving on from the hostile feelings for each other, the three made their own happy family. Within this movie there are concepts displayed that we have discussed in class.

A few are motor skills, identity diffusion, identity commitment, triangulation, and Gottman’s “four horseman of the apocalypse”. Within this paper you will read about each of these five concepts and how they are shown throughout the movie. The first concept is motor skills. In early childhood children usually gain their gross motor skills around the age of two and their fine motor skills take longer to develop. Since Holly was given the role of a mother she started reading books about kids and at what age Sophie should be doing things; walking and talking.

She became worried as Sophie was approaching her second birthday quickly and was not showing any signs of either walking or talking. Shortly after expressing these worries to Messer, Sophie stands up and begins to take her first steps. Soon after she wouldn’t stop running throughout the house. This shows Sophie’s gross motor skills developing and allows her to run freely. The definition of identity diffusion is the lack of commitment to who one is and what they stand for. People who fall under this category often do not explore options, do not have a set moral compass, and do not commit.

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Out of the characters in the movie, Messer fits this description best. Messer does not commit when it comes to relationships. He hooks up with girls and tells them what they want to hear before they part their ways. One point in the movie Messer had a girl stay the night and as they were saying their good-byes he said, “next time dinner’s on me”. However, he had no intentions to ever call her again. This shows that Messer does not have a good set of morals and he cannot commit to one girl; that is until the end of the movie here he finally commits to Holly. On the other hand, Holly is more on the identity commitment side of the scale. Identity commitment involves having a relatively firm idea of who one is and what they stand for. This type of person also shows exploration and commitment. Holly is committed to her baking business she started all on her own and was immediately committed to Sophie, although it took some adjusting. When Messer and Holly were told they would become the parents of Sophie, Messer was looking for a way out.

He was looking into other family members to care for her when Holly offered for her to do it alone. Holly also explores her options for a boyfriend and succeeds in finding one. When Messer leaves for his new job in Phoenix, Holly begins to date Sophie’s doctor and stays with him for a while. Another concept displayed in this movie is triangulation, which is when you have anxiety with one thing or person and focus your attention on something/someone else to avoid your anxiety. Messer and Holly are great examples of this.

There is anxiety between the two when Messer is offered his dream job in Phoenix, which Holly does not want Messer to take. While questioning him about this job offer Holly ends up pushing him toward the job. While Messer is gone, she focuses on another guy to get feelings for Messer out of her mind. For Messer, he focuses on his new dream job and tries not to think about the only girl he really has ever loved. This works out for a while until Messer comes home for Thanksgiving and all feelings for each other come flooding back in.

In class we talked about how many people argue and all the wrong ways they go about discussions. Well John Gottman discovered the proper way of going about arguments. Within his method there is a time-out section, this is a very important aspect to arguments. When the conversation gets to be out of control it’s best to be alone and come back when you have calmed down. During the time-out you should do something healthy to calm yourself down and then come back to the discussion when you both can talk constructively.

In the movie Messer and Holly argue about how they are responsible for Sophie, this is when Messer finally freaks out and says, “She’s not my kid”. Right after the argument he leaves the house and goes for a drive on his motorcycle. When he gets back Holly shows him a tape of Sophie’s actual parents. This tape shows her real parents arguing over Sophie’s bedroom. By showing Messer this tape Holly tells him that it’s okay that they argue every now and then and they have to mess up. If they don’t mess up then they are not doing it right. This time-out worked very effectively for Messer and Holly.

The movie Life As We Know It is a very good example for the concepts we have discussed throughout the semester of class. With Sophie being a very young child you can see her motor skills developing and with Messer and Holly becoming unexpected parents you can see who shows signs of identity diffusion and identity commitment. There are also many moments in the movie where people are arguing which can show the wrong ways to go about an intense discussion and others show a better way to talk constructively. It is important to know and identify these concepts to better yourself and others around you.

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Life as We Know It Concept Paper. (2017, May 05). Retrieved from

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