We will write a custom Essay on Relationships in Films: The West Side Story and Kramer v Kramer specifically for you
301 certified writers online
The purpose of this paper is to analyze the idea of formation and breakdown of relationships in film work. The analysis of the films will take the western perception of love and relationships within the modern societies. The films western side story and “Kramer v Kramer” will be analyzed to show how the creation and destruction of relationships are used to drive themes respectively.
Topic outline and explanation
Relationships, love, romance and intimacy play an important role in the development of plots in movies, films and other narratives. In film work, relationships have been used extensively to drive themes and elicit, change or influence the audience’s perceptions of life, culture and practices. Two aspects are common in most films- the creation and breakdown of relationships. The strength of relationships is often developed using love and intimacy.
Most filmmakers attempt to express the western idea that love is the main force that drive relationships. In addition, films attempt to portray the society’s view of love and relationships. Intimacy is considered the ultimate goal of love and relationships (Balio 64). However, relationships based on non-intimate love is equally portrayed in films. For instance, western filmmakers attempt to portray the society’s idea of the relationship between individuals such as child-parent relationship, friendship and work-related relationships. In such themes, the ultimate goal of love and relationships is not intimacy. In this paper, an analysis of two films is done to reveal how the creation and breakdown of love is portrayed in western film.
Analysis of relationships in films
Creation of a relationship seems to be the major technique through which other themes are portrayed and driven in the American film “West Side Story”. In this film, a love-based relationship develops between Tony and Maria, which results into a number of events. First, it is worth noting that the development of love and relationship does not consider geographical, cultural and ethnic differences. For instance, the relationship between Tony and Maria develops spontaneously. Despite the cultural and ethnic differences between Maria and Tony, they cannot resist their feelings towards each other.
On one hand, Maria’s culture and identity restrict her from forming a relationship with Tony and other individuals. In her Puerto Rican culture, children are betrothed early in life, a culture that restricts the formation of love with any other person except the individual chosen by parents (West Side Story). Maria is aware that she is betrothed to Chino, a member of her ethnic Puerto Rican immigrants in Manhattan. She is aware that it is her role to love and marry Chino, regardless of the attempts by other males to influence her. On the other hand, Tony is aware that flirting with girls from the Puerto Rican Sharks gang is likely to result in a fight between them and the members of his Jets group (Berson 122).
He is also aware of the prevailing tension in the dance room, especially because the two groups have been fighting over the control of the Manhattan streets. Nevertheless, these issues cannot hinder the creation of an intimate relationship between the two individuals. The film portrays Tony and Maria as extraordinary individuals whose love has made them consider going beyond the expectations of the society or group. They are unable to control their love, which makes Tony penetrate the regions occupied by the Sharks to find Maria in her apartment (Nixon 78). In addition, the relationship leads to a number of other events. While Tony is credited for the foundation of the Jets gang, he is also shown as an individual whose newfound love is driving him towards doing the opposite of the group’s expectations. Among his group, he is a ruthless and daring fighter whose role has been outstanding. For example, he is known to punch and punish various members of the Sharks whenever there is a challenge.
Nevertheless, his newfound love in Maria has changed his perceptions towards the Puerto Rican rivals. For instance, he attempts to stop a fight between Ice and Bernando, arguing that fighting is not worth solving their problems. He also attempts to intervene when Riff is about to stab Bernando, which results into an accidental death of Riff, a member of his Jets gang. As Act II continues, the audience is introduced to the strength of the relationship between Maria and Tony (Berson 127).
For instance, the film depicts Maria’s willingness to break her culture and elope with Tony at the expense of Chino’s love for her. In addition, the relationship between them leads to the formation of a strange association or relationship between the members of the two groups. For instance, when Maria learns that Tony has killed her Brother Bernando, she refuses to accept the story. In addition, she readily forgives Tony for the sake of their love and after believing the Tony’s claim that he had accidentally killed her brother when he attempted to stop the fight between the two factions. Moreover, the audience is introduced to a rare form of relationship between the two groups after the death of Tony (Nixon 92).
As Tony dies in the hands of Maria after Chino shoots him, the two groups stand unmoved and unable to comprehend the event. They want to fight each other to revenge the deaths, but Maria’s honor of her love with Tony compels them to work together as a group. As the film ends, the audience is introduced to a rare relationship being formed between the two groups, with the police unable to intervene (Grant 162).
Unlike the representation of the impact of creation of relationships in the “West Side Story”, the film “Kramer vs. Kramer” attempts to use the idea of destruction or breakage of relationships to drive other themes in the movie. Developed in 1979 in the US, the drama film “Kramer vs. Kramer” shows the impact of divorce on a couple, children caught between and other individuals involved (Asimow 221). The plot of the film revolves around the negative and some positive impacts of a relationship break away (Kramer v Kramer).
Joanna, after getting advice from her neighbor and friend Margaret, decides to file a divorce and leave her husband Teddy and their son Billy. This marks the start of the breakdown of the relationship between Teddy and his wife Joanna and Joanna and her son Billy. However, it is also used to portray the start of a relationship between Ted Kramer and Margaret. First, the impact of the breakdown of the relationship between Ted and Joanna is portrayed as an example of the common causes of destruction of marriages in the modern America (Asimow 221). For instance, parental role and involvement in child rearing have emerged as the major cause of the breakdown of the relationship.
In her quest for divorce, Joanna tells Margaret that Ted Kramer has reduced his involvement in bringing up Billy. She argues that Ted is always dedicated in his advertising work at the expense of his family. She states that Ted has no time for her and the son, which makes her unhappy. On her advice, Margaret advices Joanna to file a divorce and separate with Ted, arguing that she will not find happiness in the marriage (Kramer v Kramer). The film attempts to depict the role of other individuals in the process of breakdown of marriage relationships in the modern America. For instance, Margaret is a divorced mother living next to the Ted family. To her, a woman should not tolerate an unhappy marriage. She is of the opinion that women have the right to find happiness in a marriage or leave at their won will. Thus, she is partly responsible for the breakdown of Ted’s relationship with Joanna.
In addition, the breakdown of the marriage relationship between Ted Kramer and Joanna Kramer affects the relationship between Billy and his parents. First, Billy has lost the motherly love after Joanna’s departure. He often quarrels with his father, results in a bad relationship between them. Nevertheless, when the relationship between the son and the father improves, the son seems to forget about his mother. With time, Billy becomes inclined to his father. The breakdown of Ted’s relationship with his wife is counteracted with a new relationship he develops with Margaret. Although Margaret contributed to the breakdown of Ted’s marriage, she cannot avoid her feelings towards Ted (Asimow 221). She wonders why Joanna was unhappy with Ted because she finds him a homely man.
It is also worth noting that the relationship between Billy and his mother is affected significantly after her departure. As he attempts to fit in his new relationship with his father, he seems to forget his mother’s love. It is clear that Joanna can hardly separate the son from the father, despite the court’s decision to allow her to keep the child. Noting that Billy is no longer interested in her, she decides to let the son roman. Although the film does not show the consequent events, it is likely that Joanna decided to return to Ted (Asimow 221). In addition, the sour relationship between Ted and Joanna Kramer is represented as the cause of the bad relationship between other individuals.
Get your first paper with 15% OFF
For instance, the case brings together the two factions of lawyers that had a history of rivalry. The group representing Joanna Kramer has been fighting with the legal group that Ted Kramer hires in the case over the custody of the child. The audience is introduced to the assassinations that both groups unleash on the other. The film uses this phenomenon to drive the theme of re-creation of a new relationship between Ted and Joanna, although it ends before the two rejoin in a marriage (Asimow 221).
This paper has attempted to examine the phenomenon of creation and breakdown of relationships and their impacts on individuals, groups and the society. While the creation of a relationship between Maria and Tony is strange and unexpected, it leads to a number of deaths but unites the two rival groups. On the other hand, although Billy has lost his mother’s love due to the breakdown of the parental relationship, he is able to find comfort in his father.
Asimow, Michael. “Divorce in the movies: from the Hays Code to Kramer vs. Kramer.” Legal Stud. F. 24.2 (2000): 221. Print
Balio, Tino. United Artists: The Company That Changed the Film Industry. Madison, WI: Uni of Wisconsin Press, 2007. Print.
Berson, Misha. Something’s Coming, Something Good: West Side Story and the American Imagination. Washington DC: Applause, 2011. Print
Grant, Barry Keith. The Hollywood Film Musical. Wiley-Blackwell, 2012. Print.
Kramer v Kramer. Dir. Robert Benton. New York: Columbia Pictures, 1979. Web.
Nixon, Marni. I Could Have Sung All Night: My Story. New York: Billboard Books, 2010. Print
West Side Story. Dir. Jerome Robbins and Natalie Wood. New York: United Artists. 2010. Web.