Trading place is a good movie that talks about the differences between classes in society, as well as the negative aspects in the actual life of rich and poor people in American society. The film takes place in the socio-cultural conflict when the two main characters come from two different classes on culture, communication and be inverted their lives to each other. The story brought to many humor situations but has a high value for everyone ponders. The film is led by the two main characters that have very different economic status and politics. Louis Winthorpe III (Dan Aykroyd), a character representing for the upper class in American society, who have powerful economic, educated and also high status. In the movie, Louis holds an important role in a major U.S. financial company. Billy Ray Valentine (Eddie Murphy), a typical of lower class of African American poverty, he was looked down upon and disparaged by people from the higher-classes.
In the movie, Valentine must use tricks to make a living. This can be seen as two very different social cultures that easily recognize in the film. Those are the culture of white Americans upper-class and African American poverty class. The difference in these classes led to the distinctive cultural differences in communication styles and behaviors. This has contributed to the cultural conflict when Winthorpe and Valentine swap their living situations. In the betting between Randolph (Ralph Bellamy) and Mortimer Duke (Don Ameche) aims to find out if the habitat has changed the capital personality of human or not, They make Valentine from a man with social contempt, disdain become a person that has high economic status, high living standards and be respected. In contrast to Valentine, Winthorpe has endured a life of poverty with the help of a girl in lower classes of society. Winthorpe experienced the extreme poverty life of the lowest class in society which is a homeless life, no status, no money, and above of all, he must bear the scorn of society especially from people who had respected him before.
The beginning of these changes has led to many cultural conflicts in the lives of both characters. That is the process struggling to change them to fit in the new environment. Or more specific, it is the process of Winthorpe learning to become a poor person, and Valentine becomes a wealthy man. We can see in this movie, when Valentine owned an expensive house that is luxury, he invited everyone in the bar to his house dancing and partying. However, as a poor living habits, it made him uncomfortable when he found cigarette butts littered the floor, or the way he patted Randoph in the context of communication scenes shows that he still retains the definition comfortable behave, a natural of lower class, which does not fit in society’s upper crust where requires spontaneity within the framework of the value of education.
The cultural conflict also happened in Winthorpe’s life. He always had style debate identifiable reason particularly as he was arrested on charges of stealing and using drugs at police office or when trying to convince the shop owner to sell his watch which is expensive, but at the end, he had to accept to sell his watch for $ 50. In my own opinion, the upper class and lower is a huge gap in this movie. On the very first scene, those classes seem two parallel lines that will never meet. The image of Valentine which fake handicapped beggar, begging under Winthorpe’s feet and stigma bluntly, and no sympathy is a picture that gave to me many thought. The lower class was impoverished in the dark corners of society; they are willing to do anything to save their own lives. That led to the bad image as theft, posing with disabilities to seek the sympathy of others. They are not completely bad in society, they still have self-respect and honesty when their life are better, for example, the image of Valentine when he paid the money back to Randolp and Mortimer that proud he’s still a good person and become changing.
The biggest drawback of this lower class p is that they “accept their fate rather than trying to improve their lot.” (Ferris) About the upper class, they are often known as a class with status economic, political, highly educated, but the fact is that not all rich people enriched in a genuine and worthy of admiration. On the contrary, they misuse the money to go against the government laws. In this film, it has proven that the measure of human value does not lie in the political, economic but the changes of life environment as well as the personal nature of human capital. Return the content of the movie, the cultural differences between social classes in particular that the culture of upper class and lower class is the main characteristics in this movie. The change of attitude Winthorpe’s attitude after experiencing life of the lower class, and the interesting changing of Valentine when he is almost different in his ideas, thoughts and actions.
Environment has a huge impact on the cultural characteristics changing of each individual. Mentioned to cultural syndromes factors in the case, we can see that the cultural syndrome of the upper class is individualism, and it “emerges in societies that are both complex and loose” (Howard) which “have fewer rules and norms” (Howard) than the tightness culture. In the movie, the picture of Winthorpe when he wakes up with everything that next to him as his breakfast was prepared that is served by the maid, and many other services like the holder of the his suits, his jacket or people who help open the door and car. These icons almost become cultural symbols in rich people’s life, especially the upper class people in the United States. In contrast to the upper class, lower class people “were excluded from the mainstream, developed a way of life that was qualitatively different from that of middle-class societies, and allowed them to cope with the dire circumstance of poverty.”(Ferris) often have cultural syndromes collectivism and tightness. They often accept their fate poverty and separating completely into parts of society.
This class is not difficult to realize in our life or in the early scenes of the movie Trading Places, this image appeared of young men playing basketball on the small campus and does not have a real basketball. In addition, the most visible image is when Valentine dragging him around for money from passersby but they denied and contempt. This is the first time I watched this movie “Trading Places” and feel myself as a missing when I didn’t watch it sooner. The film is actually a very detailed picture of the cultural social classes in the society, the communication and the negative aspects as well as the problem of rich people enrichment. The film ends by the friendship of Winthorpe and Valentine that has left me refreshed and satisfied. “It throws the rich and the poor into the same blender to discover that (most of the time) all classes really do share a common humanity.” (Gordon)
•Gordon, Bill. “Movie Review: Trading Places (1983) – Odd Culture.” Weird News Stories, Bizarre Video, Weird Celebrities, Odd Culture. N.p., n.d. Web.29 Jan.2013. •Ferris, Kerry, and Jill Stein. The Real World: An Introduction to Sociology. 1st ed. W.W. Norton & Company, 2007. Print. •Howard, Gary. We Can’t Teach What We Don’t Know: White Teachers, Multiracial Schools. New York: Teachers College Press, 1999. Print.
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