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Emotion as a Tool in Rhetorical Form of Documentary

The documentary film, Bigger, Stronger Faster, that was directed by Christopher Bell and released in 2008, can be considered as a documentary that uses the Rhetorical Form. This can be based on the presentation of arguments made by the said film, wherein there exists clear attempts to persuade its viewers regarding the ill-effects that steroids and other Performance-Enhancing Drugs may cause to an individual.

Perhaps this certainty is most apparently shown in the scene wherein the Bell’s mother, Rosemary, learned of her sons’ use of steroids during an interview conducted by Christopher, and where she became highly emotional upon hearing the information. Her emotion alone is highly suggestive that her sons have been doing an immoral act by taking steroids, thus strongly implying to the viewers of the intended stance of the film, which is anti-steroids.

This particular portion of the film conforms to the four attributes of a rhetoric form ascribed in Bordwell’s and Thompson’s book as it directly negates scientific data and attempts to relate to our emotions. The emotional appeal of this portion is also strongly suggesting to its viewers to have a negative perception on steroids use, hence not to patronize the drug and to simply rely on the God-given skills that are inherent to everyone.

Film Art: An Introduction, explains this technique by stating, “The filmmaker often appeals to our emotions, rather than presenting only factual evidence” (Bordwell and Thompson 349). Indeed, after viewing the said documentary, most especially the aforementioned interview with Rosemary, it is evident that the emotional aspect was more distinctly presented than the facts. Work cited Bordwell, David and Thompson, Kristin. Film Art: An Introduction, 8th Edition. New York: McGraw-Hill Higher Education, 2008.

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