Crash by Paul Haggis: Movie Review

Crash by Paul Haggis
Crash by Paul Haggis

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Crash by Paul Haggis: Movie Review

Communication strategies in the movie Crash by Paul Haggis

Intercultural communication, verbal communication, perception, and stereotyping all play essential roles in the characteristics of the movie Crash. This paper provides a detailed critique of Paul Haggis’ film Crash. In this evaluation, connections are made to what I have learned in class with regard to communication.

The concepts/principles of listening and stereotyping are clearly defined and applied in the film. Thesis statement: in Crash, people stereotype and judge other people and they also get judged by other people and this results in ineffective communication. Ineffective listening by some characters in the movie also results in poor communication.


Stereotypes refer to the beliefs or perceptions that people hold about other people or groups rooted in previously formed attitudes and views. When people are categorized as a group, they are believed to possess comparatively similar beliefs and exhibit the same behaviors (Beebe, 2011). On the whole, stereotypes describe the behavior norm for a specific group, and not individual behavior.

In the film Crash by Paul Haggis, instances of stereotyping are many. In the initial scene of this film, the Korean lady yelled at detective Ria that Mexican people do not know how to drive – she stereotypes Mexican people. Conversely, people of Korean descent often have trouble in pronouncing some consonants rightly: the Korean lady pronounces brake as blake and she was mocked satirically by Ria who told her, I am sorry you never saw my blake lights.

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Following the 9/11 terrorist attacks on American soil, the entire society of the United States has some kind of hatred toward the Arabs as they have developed some stereotypes about Arabs. Americans believe that every Arab person could be a potential terrorist.

Other stereotypes depicted in Crash are that black people are the source of crime in American society, Caucasians do not really understand hip-hop, African Americans do not like ice-skating, country songs, or playing hockey. Nonetheless, Anthony finds it weird that Peter as an African American likes hockey, ice-skating, and country songs.

Stereotyping has embedded deeply in the minds of both African Americans and Caucasians and it embarrasses and torments them. People think that they actually know who they are. Nonetheless, when they are tested, they come to the realization that they have no idea who they are. On the whole, people stereotype and judge other people and they also get judged by other people.

When their mindsets crash into one another, they eventually understand that they cannot escape unscathed. Stereotyping has been ineffective as depicted in the film Crash as it served as an obstacle to effective cross-cultural communication. In essence, whether subtle or blatant, stereotyping could have a very negative effect on human interaction and communication as shown in the movie Crash.

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Listening refers to the capability of accurately receiving and interpreting messages in the process of communication. It is worth mentioning that listening is crucial to any effective communication given that without the ability to listen in an effective way, messages would be misunderstood easily – communication will break down and the message’s sender or speaker could become irritated or frustrated easily (Beebe, 2011).

The concept of listening as a strategy for intercultural communication has also been rather ineffective as used in the film Crash. One of the main characters in the film is John Ryan who is a white police officer. He is a racist toward African Americans. His quotes captivate the viewers and he happens not to be a very good listener. When a person does not listen effectively to what the other person is saying, then the individual leaves himself and his mind open to believe anything and in most instances misunderstands the point the other party was trying to say.

Furthermore, people have the tendency of presuming what the other person is trying to say without allowing them to really finish speaking what they were saying. This could result in confusion between the two causing them to jump to conclusions. In Crash, ineffective listening or not listening to others effectively could end in serious irreversible outcomes.

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To sum up, this essay has examined the principles of stereotype and listening as depicted in the film Crash which was directed by Paul Haggis. In this award-winning movie, characters stereotype and judge each other and they also get stereotyped and judged by others. This caused ineffective communication. Furthermore, poor listening by some people in this film led to poor communication and misunderstanding.


Beebe, R. (2011). Interpersonal Communication: Relating to Others (2nd Canadian Edition). Scarborough, Ontario: Allyn and Bacon.

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