Don’t Bother to Knock Different types of communication are used throughout the movie. I will limit myself to the analysis of types of communication between Jed and Nell. Nell is brought into the hotel room, and meets the parents of Bunny, the little girl she will be babysitting. The parents swirl out, leaving simple instructions. Once Bunny goes to bed, Nell is left alone in the apartment. When she is alone, all you see is the sadness; therefore, she sends a facial message.
In the introduction to the parents, and in her dealings with her uncle, she tries to keep it together, and put on a social happy expression, using the hidden self, but once alone, the mask is off. Meanwhile, another story goes on between Jed, a pilot, who’s been dating Lynn; a lounge singer in the hotel. Jed is obviously a “friends with benefits” type situation. Lyn is not the type to put the pressure on him to commit. She finally has come to the decision that she can’t be with him anymore. Lyn says, “You lack what I need. You lack an understanding heart. Pissed, Jed goes to his room, and then catches a glimpse in the window across the way, of Nell, dressed up in a gown, dancing around by herself. Eventually, she notices him, and they begin a nonverbal communication which may leads to a metamessage. He figures out her room number from the floor plan on the back of the door, and calls her, moving from nonverbal communication to interpersonal communication. They sit and talk on the phone, staring at each other from window to window, the mystery of the connection; interpersonal attraction enters the game.
Jed, a guy out for a good time, and lonely guy, only sees the body at first. He looks at Nell, and sees a very beautiful woman and he thinks: I have hit the jackpot. There’s also certain passivity in Nell, a certain willingness that makes you think she would be “easy”, but this may be an overattribution from Jed. Jed having self-esteem thinks that it will be pretty easy to capture this woman for the night. To increase his accuracy, Jed decided to pay a visit to the young lady. Over the devastating course of their next couple of scenes, when he invites himself over to her room, he begins to realize that something is not right.
They flirt, they drink, they kiss, and through their interactions, something opens up in Nell, she projects onto him all of her hopes and dreams, which is alarming, so early in the game, and calls to mind fatal attraction. She loves him immediately, she self-disclosures, (first time they meet) showing inadequate interpersonal skills, therefore lack of effective emotional communication. Instead of taking advantage of what he thinks he deserves anyway (after all, she invited him over, she’s in a negligee, she knows exactly what he wants! , Jed using his effective and active skills of listening, shows his “understanding heart”; he just knows that seducing this woman would be wrong, but stays with her and offers help. When Nell and Jed neck on the couch, the little girl whom Nell is tending surprises the spooning couple, this drives the psychotic Nell over the edge, forcing Jed to try to keep the baby-sitter from harming both herself and the child, and once again showing his ability to interpersonal conflict management.