Interpersonal Concepts Dan in Real Life


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In finding out the relationship between real life issues and art, we may want to ask ourselves if life is an imitation of art or is art an imitation of real life issues.  A closure look into this question poses that art is mimicry of life and all the life problems seen in real life.  It is well evident in Hollywood movies that various interpersonal communication devices have been used. This paper will examine the movie Dan in real life movie. Dan in real life movie is an American comedy –dream movie produced in 2007 and directed by Peter Hedges. This movie uses three main interpersonal concepts in the story which are conflict, intimacy, and relationships (DeVito, 2008, pp 123).

The concept of conflict is seen in the profession Dan is in. He works as a newspaper columnist adviser. He contends his column to be nationally syndicated. Being a newspaper photographer entails a lot of both terrible and great things and one is never sure of what the day would bring. The job Dan is doling is a conflict by itself one should expect to meet interesting people or sometimes his work may not be to the stranded required by the editor. The main Characters Steve Carrel as Dan Burn I as widower and a controlling father of his daughters Cara, Jane and Lily.  Another problem is the tough life he is going through, as a single father with a bunch of indiscipline daughters. Dans life is simply a nightmare. Dan Burn is in a serious problem with his daughters and he is still undergoing   the pain of losing his wife. 

The interpersonal concept of conflict is well depicted in the first scene. Dan is planning to take trip to Rhode Island home together with his family to visit his parents who live there. Others visiting John Mahoney and Dianne Wiest who are the parents are Mitch the brother of Dan who is based on New York City and personal trainers for the special get together of the annual family gathering.  Dan’s daughter Cara does not want to go to New York for the occasion, reason is that she does not want to leave behind her boyfriend Marty who she just met three days ago and she has fallen deeply in love with him. Dan Forces her to go with them because it is not even realistic to fall deeply in love with a stranger she just met three days ago.   Dan is dealing with unusual issues with his family members. Being a single wowed father of   three girls in their adolescent stage is not easy.  The oldest daughter is itching to start driving after recently acquiring a driving license while Brittney who is in between is claiming to be so deeply in love with one of the boys in the school she attends.

Another conflict in the movie is also depicted when Dan meets a woman of his dream. The family journey to Rhode Island is like a brood of irritated packs that have been forced to go to the annual family meeting. On there arrival in New York Dan goes to town the next morning in order to give his daughters some space jut as his mother has advised.  He goes to one of the books stores in town and bumps into Juliet Bonoche acting as Marie. This is the first incident when Dan has flirted with another woman after the death of his wife. He is filled with as he returns back to the house but his happiness comes to an end when He comes to discover that Mitch his brother is dating her. This is when Mitch comes with her, to join the other family members. This realization makes Marie and Dan to act awkwardly as they try to hide and at the same time pursue the mutual interest they have towards one another. This shows a conflict in trying to fit in the awkward ad conflicting emotions in a home of two brothers at loggerheads over the same woman. The secret lovers are however forbidden by the social rules which make them like blurting the whole story out.

Another inter personal concept shown in the movie is on relationship. The movie shows clearly knit family ties.  Dan Burns is presented to us as a man who is still mourning for the death of his wife four years ago.  He was left to raise the three girls from the marriage and this proves not to be easy tasks for him especially now that the two daughters are in their adolescent. Such a family is a portrayal of the family relationship that exists and the problems associated when one of the parents is absent.  Dan loved his wife and since the four years of losing his wife he has never gotten interested another woman. The daughters however do not see their father to be of much good they regard him as a slow and ever nagging brother.

Another close family relationship is seen in Dan family, which is a rich Yankee family. It is tightly knit and very close by ensuring that they gather together for an annual meeting. This is a rare aspect which the movie had focused on especially in the contemporary times. Throughout the movie we get to learn of family joy combined with melancholy. This closes relationship however leads to an eventual turn of events where the Dan comes to realize the girl she had met at the book store, had a crush on and had exchanged  numbers  is dating  his brother Mitch. This long chain of relationship between brothers and a girl friend leads to conflict with the social norms. When watching the movie we are contended with the inter relationship between sisters, grand parents, grand daughters, parents, brothers and even boy friends and girlfriends all of whom have gathered in one shelter to celebrated their togetherness.

Finally the intimacy is another interpersonal concept depicted in the movie.  Intimacy means a very close relationship which is interpersonal and more of a sexual relationship. The people sharing the interpersonal intimacy share emotional fulfillment and attachment.  In the movie Dan in Real life, we are not told at first that Mitch has a girl friend by the name of Marie. But we come to know when she has already met Dan and that she is dating his brother because of the intimate relationship between Mitch and Marie. It creates and awkward scenario when Marie realizes that Dan is the brother of Mitch.  The main theme of intimacy is seen is the second born daughter of Dan. she thinks that she has finally fallen in love with his school mate boy but the real thing is that she is being driven by her adolescents hormones. She thinks that the boy she met three days ago should not be left as they travel to New York and that is why she comes to a conflict with his father. Dan tries to be intimate with Marie by finding ways of winning her heart from Mitch which is finally fulfilled as they end up wedding (Box Office Mojo, 2011).

The movie Dan in real life is a movie which has managed to presents the interpersonal concepts of conflict, relationship and intimacy. It is a story of love between Marie and Dan who have been trapped with the knowledge that Mitch. There love cannot be denied and they end up kissing. The sound tracks and songs of the movie clearly depict the various interpersonal concepts in the movie.


DeVito, J. (2008). Interpersonal Messages Communication and Relationship Skills. MA:

Allyn and Bacon.

Box Office Mojo (2011) Dan in Real Life (2007). Retrieved from

On February 22, 2011


Janet Robinson is the Author and the Managing Director of EssayWritings.Org a globally competitive top essay writing service which is the premiere provider of Essay Writing Services, Research Paper Writing Services at Term Paper Writing Services at very affordable cost. For 9 years, she has helped a number of students in different academic subjects.

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