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The Story of Us

Year: 1999
Director: Rob Reiner
Cast: Bruce Willis, Michelle Pfeiffer, Rob Reiner, Rita Wilson, Paul Resier, Julie Hagerty
Your spouse snores and you wish you could have the bed to yourself for one night. When you do, you can't sleep - a metaphor for the essential paradox of an unhappy relationship, one that The Story of Us captures almost perfectly. More a montage than a story (and a risky bet - most people see movies to escape real life, not have it thrust back at them) and the most honest portrayal of marital unhappiness the Hollywood studio system could tell.

Ben (Willis) and Katie (Pfeiffer) always fight and don't know who they are anymore. The film showcases their best and worst, each one faithfully true to married life while trying to bring up children and stay in love. Their joy and pain translate almost perfectly, and even though the reason it may be so effective is that so many of us have been through it, that proves that it portrays its point well. The characters are a refreshing change from the usual lovable buffoon male and much smarter, long suffering wife. They're equals - both weak, loving and angry. The ending was pretty sudden and while not out of place, the best balance between what life's really like and the Hollywood need for story closure.

All the performances are subtle and top notch (another notch in Willis' dramatic belt), and in the end you've lived two hours of life, having wanted to cry and laugh because you understand or remember the same circumstances, difficulties and joys, and director Reiner portrays them well.

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