From looking at the way someone behaves we can start to speculate the relationships that person may have with others. This is because we know that so often the way someone is living their lives can be an outcome of the influence they are receiving from different people in their lives. Freedom Writers, The Blind Side, Ratatouille, and The Mean Girls, are all films that share the common theme of ‘The power of influence from a relationship’.
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In the film The Blind Side, the theme ‘The power of influence from a relationship’ is shown through the relationship between Michael and Leigh Anne. In the beginning of the film, when Michael starts attending Wingate High School, one of the first things he has to do is take a test. At the end of the class he hands in an empty test paper indicating Michael’s lack of knowledge prior to the exam. This is before Leigh Anne came into Michael’s life. Leigh Anne welcomes Michael into her home one day as the Tuohy’s are on their way home after watching Collins’ volleyball game.
But soon enough Michael becomes a part of the family for good, and eventually through the financial and mental support of his new family, despite his low GPA, works hard and graduates with a successful future ahead of him. “He did it Sean” Leigh Anne says as she finds out Michael’s GPA at the end of the school year. This example in the film shows how the influence from one person (Leigh Anne) changed someone’s (Michael’s) whole future for the better. The director is trying to teach us the importance of having a positive influence in your life by showing how Michael was able to overcome his many obstacles in life with Leigh Anne by his side. This also reminds us that everyone in the world has their own weaknesses, problems and obstacles to overcome, and therefore encourages us to be more understanding and kind, and an overall good influence and friend for others.
The theme ‘The power of influence from a relationship’ is portrayed in a similar way to The Blind Side in the film Ratatouille. The idea is once again shown through a relationship in the film, between Remy the rat and Linguini. Remy, despite his talent, cannot follow his dreams in becoming a great chef alone because he is a rat in a strongly rodent-phobic profession. Without hiding behind Linguini’s human identity Remy cannot cook and without Remy’s cooking skills Linguini cannot hold down his job at the restaurant and impress his coworkers including Collette (his future girlfriend). “I need this job. I’ve lost so many.” Linguini explains to Remy at the beginning of the film.
Even though their differences cause their relationship to stumble at times, as they maintain their secretive relationship in the kitchen they are able to help each other succeed in their own ways. Although their secret does not remain hidden forever, the influence they have on each other remain the same as their future’s are changed forever. For example Linguini may have never found out he was Gusteau’s son if it weren’t for his relationship with Remy. The director shows Remy and Linguini’s relationship to teach us the importance of a strong friendship and how it can positively affect our lives, and perhaps in some cases, help to make your dream come true. It teaches us that it is worth finding friends that truly support you in pursuing your dreams, no matter how ambitious or difficult it may be.
The theme ‘The power of influence from a relationship’ is also shown in the film Freedom Writers through Eva and Mrs G’s relationship. As we view how Eva’s character develops throughout the film, we get to see how Mrs G’s influence on her life affects all her other relationships with people. In the beginning of the film Eva is portrayed as a misbehaving, rude and aggressive teenager. But as Eva’s relationship with Mrs G starts to grow stronger and more personal Eva’s attitude and actions begin to change in the classroom and eventually beyond. After the murder of Sindy’s boyfriend, Eva is called to testify at court as a witness to the scene, and at the beginning of the film she plans to lie to protect her boyfriend.“I am my father’s daughter, and when they call me to testify, I will protect my own, no matter what.” she says. But as time passes, through the constant support of Mrs G, the bond between the students of room 203 only grow closer.
Eva and her classmates are able to learn more about each other and come to realise that they are all going through their own hardships and that despite their racial differences they all have a lot in common. Later on Mrs G organizes a ‘toast for change’ and an opportunity for the class to meet Miep Gies, which ultimately pushes Eva to make the choice to tell the truth at the courtroom. She does this knowing it will put herself in danger but Eva is now brave enough to do what she believes is right. The class of students who used to despise each other come together to form a family bond because of Mrs G’s many efforts as a teacher. And this redefines the meaning of ‘protecting your own’ for Eva, as she forms relationships with people beyond her family and gang, she begins to realise that protecting her own means more than just protecting your family by blood.
This leads to Eva becoming more distant to the people in her gang and becoming closer to her class as she no longer feels guilty around them, especially Sindy. “I think I got your colour” Sindy says as she hands Eva some makeup to say thanks. Through this example the director teaches us that often personal change doesn’t come with all your previous relationships. In the end Eva earned respect from her classmates and her teacher but lost it from her gang, her father and potentially her mother too. But Eva decided she cared more about receiving approval from people who sincerely care about and support her in life over approval from people who don’t want the best for her, even if they are family. We all have the chance to make this decision for ourselves too.
The theme ‘The power of influence from a relationship’ is portrayed in a similar way to Freedom Writers in the film Mean Girls. As Cady is influenced by Regina, we are able to see all her other relationships with people start to change. Cady is a teenage girl that moves all the way from Africa to America and has to experience public school for the very first time. She has a miserable first day at school but then becomes friends with Janis and Damian. But one lunchtime, Cady meets Regina and the rest of the ‘plastics’ and they invite her to sit with them for the rest of the week.
Janis and Damian encourage her to hang out with them as a ‘fun little experiment’ but eventually Cady becomes heavily influenced by Regina and finds herself turning her back on Janis and Damien, disrespecting her parents and teacher, and damaging her relationship with Aaron. One way she does this is by choosing to not invite Janis and Damien to her party in order to protect her social status. “You know I couldn’t invite you. I had to pretend to be plastic.” She says when she is confronted by them. So in the end, although her relationship with Regina made her gain popularity in school Cady ends up ruining her other important relationships as she becomes too focused on maintaining her reputation. The director wants us to understand the importance of being careful about who you surround yourself.
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