Ethical Dilemmas in Jerry Maguire – Movie Review Example
Information Ethical Dilemmas in Jerry Maguire In the film Jerry Maguire there are several key ethical dilemmas that are evident throughout the plot. One of the main ethical dilemmas surrounds Jerry Maguire being fired from his company and subsequently trying to steal every client from the large agency firm that had dismissed him. The second important ethical dilemma involves Jerry Maguire and his love interest and business partner Dorothy Boyd marrying one another to avoid Dorothy’s decision to leave with her son upon the failure of Jerry’s new business venture. Each of these scenarios provides different elements for the ethical dilemmas. The characters are placed in difficult situations where their decisions will have great impacts on their personal and professional lives. Through analyzing these ethical dilemmas, it is critical to understand how the media may have portrayed these dilemmas in a specific way to achieve an emotional or logical tie-in for the audience at the culmination of each event.
First of all, the movie begins with Jerry being led with his former protégé to a public restaurant where he is informed that the agency firm he works for has chosen to let him go. In an emotional and comical series of events Jerry attempts to steal all of the firm’s clients that he had previously represented. One after another chooses to turn him down until the famous “Show Me the Money” scene occurs with Jerry’s client, loudmouth wide receiver Rod Tidwell. The dilemma here is attempting to determine whether it is ethical for a fired employee to attempt to steal clients from his previous employer. While this is likely illegal and highly unethical for Jerry to do, the audience feels an emotional pull that Jerry should “stick it to them” for firing him so ungraciously. Jerry’s protégé is a cocky and arrogant individual who shows little respect for his former mentor’s work or experiences with him and the company. Therefore, the audience and Jerry feel obligated and justified to attempt to cause damage to this agency. It is never acceptable to try to gain an advantage by hurting another organization or individual, especially when you have a previous relationship with that company. Jerry should have left with his dignity. Instead, he left with one client, a former secretary and a tarnished career with no respect. This was not an ethical action he took even though it turned out for the best in the plot.
The second dilemma can be explained by discussing Jerry’s inability to be alone and his fear that if Dorothy Boyd leaves for another job, he will not only be without her but will be destined to be alone forever. Jerry had also built a relationship with Dorothy’s son and is heartbroken that they are about to be separated. In a heat of passion, Jerry pleas with Dorothy to stay and offers to marry her to provide security to her and her son. Dorothy is the character that is faced with a dilemma to discern the ethics behind doing what logic says is best for her and her son and doing her emotions tell her is best. She wants nothing more than for her son to be taken care of and to have a male role model and father in his life. She also has not been in love for quite some time and misses male companionship. Her emotions cloud her judgment as logic clearly showed that she should leave Jerry’s failing business and accept a position in California where she can achieve financial stability for her and her son. This ethical dilemma challenges logic and emotion, while the cinematic media appeals to the audience’s desires for the ultimate love story. Their passion and how Jerry behaves with Dorothy’s son are much more appealing than the logical decision for everyone to part ways. Despite the film’s happy “you had me at hello” ending, the best decision would have been for Dorothy to leave and take the job. She and her son would have been financially secure and as the saying goes, there are many more fish in the sea. She would have been able to find another lover while still working a job with excellent pay and full benefits. Emotions clouded her judgment and rationality.
These ethical dilemmas provide a different decision than what should have logically and ethically been performed for the characters involved. The media attempts to appease the audience and lead them to believe that all decisions, no matter how risky, are the right decisions and are correct if they feel good. Jerry inappropriately feels justified in attacking his former company and ruining his career. Dorothy lets her emotions formulate her judgment despite her final decision being unethical and irrational. The media chooses to insinuate and emotional decisions will triumph over logical decisions or what is ethically correct. However, the real world is actually much different.
Jerry Maguire. Dir. Cameron Crowe. Perf. Tom Cruise and Renée Zellweger. TriStar, 1996. DVD.