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|August 25, 2000||
The Anatomy Of A Marriage
Monologues. Marriage. Midlife crisis. That's The Story of Us for you. Not to mention the happy ending.
It's a portrait of the 1990s' marriage with all its complexities. Bruce Willis (Ben) and Michelle Pfeiffer (Katie) play the Jordans, a Southern California couple who seem to have it all: great jobs, two kids and a chemistry that has kept them together for the better part of 15 years. Their perfect album picture falls apart once the kids are packed off to summer camp. And you realise their marriage is a tenuous union thanks to their kids.
Director Rob Reiner delicately handles the breaking of this perfect picture album, little by little, swinging between the past, present and future. He manages to highlight a couple who, when they met, fell in love with each other's opposing qualities. The very same qualities which are now driving them apart.
The characterisation of these two seems real even in the Indian context. An instant identification, even. Bruce Willis plays a writer, dreamer and husband always forgetting his share of responsibilities. And Michelle Pfeiffer plays woman juggling career and home. Both play devoted parents.
Paul Resier and Julia Hagerty, and Rita Wilson and Reiner himself play two couples who get involved in the Jordan's marital squabble. Ostensibly to add to the humour quotient, it works... sometimes. At others, it's overkill.
The monologue form of narrative, coming in the wake of American Beauty, manages to highlight the couple's conflict well. But then again, there are times when the conflict gets tedious. And you want to tell them to take a chill pill. Especially when all they do is argue. At dinner. At breakfast. At summer camp.
There are also insights -- if one goes looking for them. When the Jordans ask each other, "Are we still an us?" or when a frazzled Michelle Pfeiffer questions herself, "What is the point in a marriage when a spoon becomes just a spoon?"
Bruce Willis and Michelle Pfeiffer manage to rise above the script and play their parts with endearing honesty. And, don't miss the montage of clips from the past to the present with Eric Clapton's music playing in the background.
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