Social Psychology and Homosexuality

Topics: Homosexuality, AIDS, LGBT Pages: 5 (2156 words) Published: April 8, 2012
This film portrays the story of Andrew Beckett, a lawyer that suffering from AIDS and is a homosexual, is fired from his law firm in retaliation against him for concealing his illness. Andrew decides to sue for wrongful termination and begins inquiring with several attorneys to represent him. After being turned down several times he turns to Joe Miller, a prejudiced lawyer. Over the course of the movie, Miller finally realizes that Beckett is a regular person and is only trying to survive and overcomes his phobia of homosexuals and helps Beckett with his case. This film displays social psychology from the direct influence of others to treat individuals with AIDS and being a homosexual as regular people. However, that does not happen in the world today. We see people who are different than what our values have led us to believe and we instantly feel fear and we try to get those different people away from us. In this film, Joe Miller proves us wrong. In the beginning he is deathly afraid of any gay person and AIDS, but in the end he triumphs and conquers his fear. I think he does this through the judicial process but as well as seeing Andy deal with his illness. However, social influence plays a great deal in how the characters in the film react to Andrew’s illness when it was discovered by his colleagues at the law firm where he was employed. The social influence is the harshness of the words gay, homosexual and AIDS. Those words alone are enough to influence the way people act. The main construal in this film is the struggle to get justice against a law firm who has fired an employee due to illness of AIDS. Although they deny the accusation of discrimination against Beckett, they make themselves believe he was fired due to his incompetence. The typical case in this film is the fact that a gay lawyer was fired for AIDS discrimination. However, Walter Kinton had previously worked in a law office in Washington D.C. where a paralegal assistant had contracted AIDS, Melissa Benedict. After Melissa had informed her employers of her situation, they avoided her. In Beckett’s case, they fired him. This displays the representative heuristic. Trying to convince that Mr. Wheeler was wrong in firing Andrew is a method of conquering the overconfidence barrier. Wheeler and his partners have so much confidence in their termination of Beckett; it has an adverse effect on the accuracy of their judgments. There are many examples in this film that non-verbal communication reveals feelings that do not match their words. One is when Andy calls his mother early in the movie and begins speaking with her about the results of his blood report, although she claims to be okay, you can hear her whimpering in the background and she does not say anything. She moves on to another subject. Another example regarding Andy’s mother is at the 40th anniversary party of his parents. His family welcomes him and his partner, Miguel. When Andrew is greeting other family members, his mother gives this long, gazing look of sadness. She is afraid for Andy and what the future holds for him. Ms. O’Hara, Beckett’s secretary, gives a good example of the implicit personality theory. During cross examination, Miller asks if Andy was a good boss. She responded with the traits of sweet and kind. She was grouping Beckett’s various personality traits together. After attending a gay party, Miller and Beckett prepare for the Q and A session in court the next morning. It is then that Andy plays an aria in which it forces Joe and Andy to look inside them to examine their thoughts and feelings; Andrew’s feelings of love and life and Joe’s feelings of accepting homosexuals and forgiveness. This is an example of introspection. While Miller is questioning Andy in the courtroom, he shows intrinsic motivation by expressing his love for practicing law and occasionally gets to be a part of the justice being done. After Joe has delivered the court summons to Wheeler, the...
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