The Story of Us demonstrates a bleak insight at the fallout of the traditional American family. Ben and Kate Jordan met at work and married soon thereafter; proceeding to have two kids and a middle class mom and dad lifestyle. Ben is a writer and Kate works as a crossword puzzle author. Both Ben and Kate started with creative careers and were absolutely steaming for each other. Somehow, they ended up focusing too much on raising their kids and maintaining their household that in the midst of the day to day routine – they lost the connection, the spark. The film takes the viewer in spades through the ups and mostly the downs of the confrontation and lack thereof within an average married couple in American society and the ride of discussions regarding divorce.
The film highlights the joyful moments within the history of the relationship at hand which includes when Ben and Kate got pregnant and when they had their kids. In my opinion the movie suggests that one of the failures or downfalls of the marriage was a critical disconnect of communication. This is one ethical issue I encountered; the need to maintain a healthy line of communication between spouses is a key to survival in a family. I also believe that a trigger to this effect was the establishment of the “life with kids” institution. Soccer games, clarinet lessons, school events… it is very easy for a coupe to lose sight of how the family came to be. Kate feels as if she is the “designated drive” of the relationship. She is the pragmatic, organized, responsible and for lack of a better word… the predictable one. Kate takes comfort in structure and knowledge. Ben is the spontaneous, fly by the edge of your seat, silly and fun partner. Ben revels in impulsive and natural behavior and believes it to be essential in order to take the edge off of day to day turmoil. Clearly, this makes for a dire clash of personalities. During the film, each spouse solely discusses their thoughts about the course of the 15 year marriage and at one point, Kate says that arguing was the exception, and then it became the condition. Ben is tired of feeling unwanted and unappreciated. He misses the relationship they had before marriage and before kids. He refers to the “fun girl” Kate used to be frequently in the midst of heated arguments. The couple experiences many furious and painstaking fights in which all they do is blame each other for the unhappiness each is undergoing. The finger-pointing is overwhelming to watch. Sometimes it was as if they were boxing but instead of gloves and fists they used hurtful words and slammed doors. It is distinguished that a healthy communication line between couples is essential to not only the couples themselves but essential to the well-being of the people around them (i.e. the kids); this is why this is an ethical issue.
For many years, Ben and Kate struggled trying to heal the damage that had occurred in the relationship. They consulted several therapists and even decided to take a trip to Europe in an attempt to rekindle the flame while the kids were away at summer camp one year. While in Italy, the couple seemed to have found romance and each other again. Unfortunately, they come to find that merely taking themselves out of their element and placing a beautiful backdrop in the picture is not a long term solution to deep-rooted issues. The couple continued to have the same problems the moment they land back home. At this point, the couple noticeably stays together just for the sake of the children. This plugs together the next ethical issue that I was drawn to in the film. Is it right to stay in a dysfunctional relationship for the sake of the children? Although some argue that divorce rates are sky high now in comparison to past times, the fact is that many wed couples stay in harmful relationships because they deem it necessary for the well-being of the children. Kate and Ben do a fit job of protecting the kids once they realize they are separating. Both of their focuses seem to be held upon the wellness of their kids and how to best introduce the transition of divorce to them. However, they spent many years fighting aloud in the house where the kids can hear them. Is it morally just to believe that sticking it out is the best solution for the entire family when a relationship has turned bitterly sour? The characters did not fully encompass the entire picture when it comes to this aspect; nevertheless, it is transparent all things considered that both parties wanted the best for the family as a whole and as individuals despite the brutal hurtful word battles that transpired.
I did not reference the end of the movie at all because it sugar coats what are very real issues within families today. I feel the meat of the film lied within the first hour and thirty minutes of the one hour and forty minute movie. To sum up, Ben and Kate have a brief yet emotionally intense and condensed conversation about all the reasons they should stay together. The film ends leaving you under the assumption that they lived happily ever after together. Years of profound issues do not get resolved with a sudden epiphany while one picks up their children from a campsite on the day they were going to announce their divorce.