The Story of Us

Ben Jordan: Bruce Willis
Katie Jordan: Michelle Pfeiffer
Rachel: Rita Wilson
Liza: Julie Hagerty
Dave: Paul Reiser
Marty: Tim Matheson

Directed by Rob Reiner. Written by Jessie Nelson and Alan Zweibel. Running time: 92 minutes. Rated R for language and brief sexuality.

Central Theme
In the highs and lows of marriage when you feel stuck in a valley, you’ve got to ask, are we an us?

Exuberant, fun-loving TV comedy writer Ben, and orderly, stressed out crossword puzzle designer Katie, have reached an impasse in their marriage. Arguing without resolution has become a way of life and there seems to be no way out. Staying together for the kids is no longer reason enough to stay with it. A trial separation provides an opportunity to sort it out and they reach very different conclusions with a little help from their friends. And then they ask, “are we an us?”

Beliefs num
–Everybody wants a happy ending but not everyone will get one.
–People who care deeply about each other can have almost insurmountable communication problems.
–People who love each other and are married can be incompatible.
–You may think the kids don’t know you’re struggling, but they usually do.
–Part of rekindling your relationship involves remembering who you fell in love with in the first place.
–Sometimes it is more important to see yourself clearly, than to see your partner clearly.
–The real issue a couple must decide is: are we an us?

Questions Worth Discussing num
–What does it take to be an ¢â‚¬Ëœus’?
–At what point is staying together for the kids no longer reason enough to stay together?
–Once you’ve fought and end up in silent, neutral corners, how do you get back to communicating?
–How can a couple with history, understand and move beyond that history?
–Are there some hurts you can never get over?

Provocative Quotes byline
–I don’t know why. I’ve always been big on happy endings. To me the most romantic, beautiful love stories ever are the ones where two people meet, fall in love and fifty or sixty years later one of them dies and the other can’t live without the other. That’s how I always thought it would be with Katie and me. We’d always be together.
–I’ don’t care what we do tonight (Ben) just so the kids see us leaving together.
–I keep asking myself when is that moment in a marriage when a spoon becomes just a spoon.
==Kate about a special gift from Ben that no longer seems so special.
–When I first met Katie I felt like she just “got me.” And believe me, there is no better feeling in the world than to feel “gotten.”
–The loudest silences are those filled with everything that’s been said wrong, said 300 times, until fighting becomes the condition rather than the exception, and suddenly without even knowing it, it turns into the language of the relationship and your only option is a silent retreat to neutral corners.
–The problem is if one person is always drawing the world the way they want it to be, the other person has no choice but to draw it the way it is. Which is probably why they never wrote a book about Harold’s wife.
–Isn’t this the moment when one of us is supposed to say, look this is ridiculous, we love each other, all couples go through this. Let¢â‚¬Ëœs give it another try.
–Finally, you come face to face with the immutable truth, that it is totally impossible to French kiss a person who takes the new roll of TP and leaves it resting on the top of the empty roll. I’m telling you, marriage is the Jack Kevorkian of romance.
==Friend Rachel, advising Katie.
–Do you want to know why I don’t talk to you? Because you treat me like a big
f¢â‚¬¦ing pain in the ass in what would otherwise be a perfectly normal and organized life.
–The key to a happy marriage is to recognize the essential chasm between men and women. A man can mend a fight with sex, a woman can’t have sex until they’ve resolved the fight.
==Friend Rachel, advising Katie.
–I always felt that no matter what Katie and I are going through, no matter how painful things got, if our feet touched each other under the blankets, even the slightest connection, it would let us know we had entered the demilitarized zone, we were OK. We were an us.
–There are some hurts that you never get over.
–What happened to you? What happened to the girl in the pith helmet. Where did she go?
–You don’t think I ask myself that everyday. You beat it out of me.
–You love who we were, you can’t possibly love who we have become.
–If you just let me finish the letter, I could be more spontaneous.
–You always hear people say they stay together too long in a bad marriage. For the longest time I never thought of my marriage as bad. I just thought love is something you fall in and out of, you know peaks and valleys. After a long time in the valley you ask, “Is this who I am? Someone who has taken up permanent residence in a valley?”
–Is this who I am or is this who I am with this person? And then you ask yourself maybe there is another version of my life that is a happier one.
–Tonight I saw myself through your eyes. I’m sorry.
–Maybe we say mommy and daddy don’t love each other any more.
–Mommy and daddy love each other in a different way.
–I’m saying Chow Fung’s because we are an us. There is a history here and histories don’t happen overnight, In Mesopotamia there are cities built on top of other cities. I don’t want to build another city. I like this city¢â‚¬¦This is a dance that you perfect over time. It is hard, much harder than I thought, but there is more good than bad and you don’t just give up. Anyone will have traits that get on your nerves why shouldn’t they be your annoying traits? You are a good friend and good friends are hard to find. That girl who wore the pith helmet is still here. I’m afraid if you leave she may never be back again. I’m saying Chow Fung’s because I love you.
==Katie deciding to go to the Chinese Restaurant instead of breaking up and telling the kids their marriage is over.

Posted in Movies, Staublog in October 15, 1999 by | No Comments »

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