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The film starts in a Manhattan apartment, where Melvin Udall (Jack Nicholson) attempts
to lure his neighbor¶s small dog into the elevator. Failing that, he picks the dog up and throws
him down the garbage chute. Moments later, Simon Bishop (Greg Kinnear), a mannered artist,
approaches Udall to ask about his dog, Verdell. After his dog is located, Simon attempts to
scold Melvin, but instead the irascible man insults and browbeats Simon for disturbing him.
However, Simon¶s agent Frank (Cuba Gooding Jr.) later corners Melvin and warns him that he
now owes a moral debt to Simon that he must someday repay. It turns out that Melvin is a
popular romance novelist who is bedeviled by many psychological compulsions, including his
belligerence to everyone he meets, making an endless string of comments that are anti-gay,
racist, or sexist. He is an extremely unpopular and disliked man. He is also a cleanliness freak,
refuses to step on any cracks in the street, and unable to eat except at one specific table at a
local restaurant.
Only one waitress, Carol Connelly (Helen Hunt), a hardworking single mother, has the
patience to deal with him. When she takes offense at a comment he makes about her sickly
son, she forces him to back down and behave. After Simon is assaulted and badly beaten in a
robbery attempt, Frank forces Melvin to care for Verdell. Slowly, the charm and lively antics of
the dog begin to win Melvin over and soon he starts to dote on the animal. A crisis develops
when Carol takes time off from her job to care for her son, who has a severe case of asthma.
Melvin arranges and pays for a specialist to treat the boy, on the condition that Carol returns to
her job. The waitress is suspicious but grateful for this unexpected act of kindness. Meanwhile,
Simon returns from the hospital, but finds himself penniless due to mounting bills and his
inability to work. Most of his friends abandon him, but he is unexpectedly assisted by Melvin,
who continues to walk and help care for Verdell. Frank persuades Melvin to drive Simon to
Baltimore so he can approach his wealthy parents for assistance. Years earlier, his father
disowned him when he learned of his homosexuality. Melvin asks Carol to come along on the
trip to serve as chaperone, since he is still not really comfortable around Simon. They reach
Baltimore, and take rooms at a hotel. Melvin takes Carol to a fancy restaurant where he tells her
that he is now taking some medication to help his disorder because he wants to be a better
person, a feeling she inspired in him. Carol is moved by this revelation, but Melvin then makes
some inappropriate comments, and she runs off, going to Simon¶s room at the hotel. She winds
up posing for Simon, who finds himself inspired by her and able to draw again. The artist is so
delighted that he does not approach his parents for money. When they return to New York,
Carol storms off, filled with mixed feelings about Melvin. She is attracted to him, but put off by
his attitude and compulsive condition. Simon has been tossed out of his apartment, and Melvin
offers to let him to stay in his own spare room. Simon persuades Melvin to go to Carol¶s house
and let her know he loves her. He follows Simon¶s advice, and Carol becomes convinced that
he truly loves her and would also make a good father for her son.


Melvin mentioned that he hated taking pills at the start of his condition. After meeting
with Carol and wanting to become a better person, he began to take the pills prescribed to him.
Therapy sessions were mentioned in the film, however for Melvin¶s case he was not attending
such sessions for about 2 years.


 : I've got a really great compliment for you, and it's true.
: I'm so afraid you're about to say something awful.
 : Don't be pessimistic. It's not your style. Okay, here I go: Clearly, a mistake. I've
got this, what - ailment? My doctor, a shrink that I used to go to all the time, he says that in fifty
or sixty percent of the cases, a pill really helps. I hate pills, very dangerous thing, pills. Hate. I'm
using the word "hate" here, about pills. Hate. My compliment is, that night when you came over
and told me that you would never. Well, you were there, you know what you said. Well, my
compliment to you is, the next morning, I started taking the pills.
: I don't quite get how that's a compliment for me.
 : You make me want to be a better man.
: That's maybe the best compliment of my life.
 : Well, maybe I overshot a little, because I was aiming at just enough to keep you
from walking out.

Wanting to be better and recognizing ones current situation warrants the need to
accommodate a more complex sense of self in relation to others. This scene struck me the most
since it would be really difficult for a person to admit a condition that he has to the object of his
affection however, coming clean makes it a bold move which clearly shows a test for courage
and determination. Being brutally frank may not suffice to such matter when certain emotions
are in the mix. It takes a great deal of confidence and courage to do such and admit to a point
wherein you as a person would want to be better to open yourself up to another. I feel that this
scene is relative to my experience. To shut yourself up and lock those emotions away and trying
to find a deeper sense of oneself actually or is ultimately inadequate for me. You always have to
be that better person. You always have to strive to be more that just adequate.
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neutralize them therapies for dysfunctional
with some other coping
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