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Posted on June 14th, 2012, by

Traditionally, the complexity of human relationships attracted attention of artists. In this respect, the modern epoch is not an exception and it is quite natural that nowadays many films, which are basically focused on the relationship between men and women, parents and children, etc., are released At the same time, many of new films are deprived of the depth of the depiction of the existing stereotypes and the extent, to which they dominate in the modern society. In fact, there are actually just a few films that have managed to convey it to the audience and among such films it is possible to name The Game Plan, the film, which is quite interesting and full of really disturbing problems. But what is probably the most important about this film is the fact that the film does not only reveal the existing stereotypes concerning men and women, and genders relationships, as well as the problem of individualism, but it also attempts to debunk the existing myths and show that humans have a good nature.

In order to better understand the message of the creators of this film, it is necessary to briefly dwell upon the plot of the story, which reveals the depth of the tragedy and the dominating role of traditions and stereotypes in the life of the main character and his environment. In this respect, it should be said that the film is basically focused on the life of the main character, quarterback Joe Kingman who seems to be an extremely successful person. As the film begins, it is hardly possible to get rid of an impression that Kingman personifies an ideal, a kind of a man for whom the great American dream has already come true. He is very successful in his professional career, he is the top Boston Rebels football star, he is popular, he has a lot of fans who simply adore him. At the same time, he preserved his independence. He is a free man, who does not have any obligation or any responsibilities that would be a real burden for him. Actually, he does not even have a family, though this fact does not meet the traditional American ideal view on a successful person. In such a way, the image of the main character may be viewed as a typical image of an American man. Obviously, professional career and public success are prior to him, while the family is absolutely insignificant to the main character. This is why it is possible to speak about the main character as personification egoism and almost absolute individualism (Stewart, 120).

On the other hand, such a presentation of the main character is an intention to show the extent to which an individual success is valued in the modern American society. Obviously, in the modern American society traditional family values have almost lost their original significance and they do not play determinant role in the life of Americans, instead, individualism is dominant (Stewart 133). Even though Joe Kingman’s success is considerably stereotyped, it is still quite specific. To put it more precisely, this is a typical male success. In fact, practically all details, even the least significant ones, are used to emphasize the masculinity of the main character. It is even possible to estimate that the director of the film represents Joe Kingman as a kind of macho who has already achieved almost everything an average American man dreams of or, at least, is supposed to dream of. It is really hard to imagine what else the main character of the film needs.

This seemingly ordinary male hero of the modern epoch turns to be a bit exaggerated representation of a successful male, which is totally different from the representatives of the opposite sex, females. For instance, he is a quarterback, he plays football, a typical male game, where the basic male characteristics are valued and Joe possesses practically all of them. The main character is strong, agile, sly, intelligent, though he does not have some deep academic knowledge, which could be rather a drawback than an advantage. He occupies a high social position and is respected by thousands of people. In brief, the main character is an ideal American man, who has gained great success.

However, on viewing the film, the audience realizes that something is missing in this idealistic image of a successful American man and the realization of this fact comes along with an unknown eight year old girl, Madison Pettis, who shows up on his doorstep one day. In fact, this little girl turns to be his daughter from a former marriage and, as she appears in the life of this successful man, it gets clear that what he misses is the real or normal family. All he has is his work, public success, high social position, money and glory, but he does not have a woman that likes him and whom he likes too. At this point, the film draws the attention of the audience to the basic, traditional American values, because historically family was the main concern of American people (Lewis 314).

As soon as Madison Pettis appears in the life of Joe Kingman, this successful man has started to change dramatically.

In fact, the audience observes a kind of metamorphosis, the transformation of a convinced bachelor and egoist into a loving and sensitive father. The transformation is really striking. At the same time, such a change only enhances the impression that the creators of the film attempted to use this character as a really ideal American man. Due to Madison, Joe King becomes practically an ideal and loving father that makes his image even closer to the ideal man, according to American standard and stereotypes. And the formation of this absolutely imaginary in its idealism male character is accomplished at the end of the film, when the main character apparently attempts to create a new family with a new woman he met due to his daughter. Her name is Monique Vasquez and she is a ballet teacher.

In fact, this character is also very important and, in a way, it is possible to view Monique Vasquez as an antipode of the main character. Unlike Joe Kingman, Monique Vasquez personifies practically an ideal female. Basically, she may be viewed as a successful woman, especially after the moment when their relationships with Joe has started to progress. She has a good job, but her job is not very prestigious one since she is a ballet teacher. At any rate, it is obvious that this job will not bring her fame, at least, the kind of fame Joe possesses. In such a way, the creators of the film show the position of women in American society and problems, such as glass ceiling, they encounter in the modern society (Lewis 342).

However, she does not actually need this fame since it does not meet a traditional American view on a woman. Basically, Monique matches this idealistic view almost pointblank. She is not interested in the professional success that will bring her public acclaim, great popularity, and admiration of thousands of people. Instead she is satisfied with the job she does. She likes it because this job meets her personal interests. She teaches children, takes care of them and assists them to take the right place in their future life. At the same time, she remains a typical woman, physically and spiritually. She is slim, almost fragile, but still she is in a good physical shape for she is a teacher of ballet dance. Unlike Joe, grace but not strength prevails in her physical appearance. Even her internal world is quite different from the world of a typical man, such as Joe. She appreciates art and beauty. She is very sensitive, emotional and cannot hide her feelings from other people. She likes children a lot that may be viewed as a realization her natural instincts as a mother taking of her children, but for Monique it does not matter that Madison, for instance, is not her child. She still loves the girl, while for Joe the fact that he is the father of the girl is the main reason that makes him love this girl, who has changed his life significantly.

However, the changes, which the audience can observe while watching the film, are much more complicated than just a simple transformation of a bachelor into a loving father. In fact, the audience observes the transformation of an egoist into a person for whom other people become really meaningful and without which he cannot even imagine his life. In such a way, the creators of the film perfectly conveyed a typical American, for whom individual freedom, independence, some egoistic desires are more important than anything else, while other people are absolutely meaningless for such a person, which Joe used to be at the beginning of the film. Obviously, the creators of the film attempt to criticize the individualism and show the audience that a man cannot live on his own. Instead, he needs to take care of other people, who love him and who will also take care of him in response. This is exactly what occurs to the main character after his encounter with his daughter. The transformation of Joe is not just a transformation of a macho into a loving father but it is rather a transformation of an egoist, idealizing individualism, into a social and really human being, who possesses universal human values, emotions, feelings and ideas. However, even in this respect, the dominant social stereotypes may be easily traced, since Joe arrives to such changes under the influence of women, his daughter and Monique, which though play the secondary role or the role of assistant of the man.

Thus, taking into account all above mentioned, it is possible to conclude that The Game Plan is the film revealing the basic dominant stereotypes concerning basic American values, such as individualism, and uncovering the striking difference in the views and stereotypes of the modern society in relation to men and women. In fact, the main characters, Joe, his daughter, Monique are typical representatives of different sexes. Joe is a typical man, which is growing more and idealized in the course of the film, while Monique and even his daughter are typical women, whose interests and system of values are quite different. On the other hand, it is quite symbolic that these female characters help Joe to improve his own character, change his lifestyle and values and make him a considerably better person. In such a way, the films shows not only the striking difference between men and women, but it also reveals that individualism gives in to the power of social life and influence of the most powerful human feelings such as love.

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