No director of the 80s and 90s typified feelgood quite as effortlessly as Rob Reiner. Even his forays into horror, courtroom drama and political drama left you feeling cosy, comforted and warm inside, while his few departures from that model – especially North – were greeted with all the intensity of frustrated feelgood expectations. The Story of Us is where that structure of feeling started to come apart, ushering in the second phase of Reiner’s career. Released in 1999, it coincides with the historical period in which the greatest number of baby boomers would have been renegotiating their marriages, and focuses on a couple, played by Bruce Willis and Michelle Pfieffer, who are anxious to turn the space between separation and divorce into a comedy of remarriage, desperate to get back to the right balance of highs and lows. For the most part, the film is set over a single summer when their kids are away at camp, and they can just be alone in their sprawling Los Angeles house with their memories, which crowd in upon them in the form of flashbacks, vignettes and direct addresses to camera. With the addition of Eric Clapton’s washed-out score, the tone is quite elegiac, a bit like hearing the key chords of the 90s unloosening and slackening, as a soft and steady rain seems to gradually settle over everything, even though it’s sunny out most of the film. From time to time, more hyperactive moments intrude, generally centred on Reiner and Rita Wilson, who play the couple’s best friends, and embody the cynical, embittered edge of the 00s romcom that was starting to creep closer to the horizon. But the film is generally more resonant when it focuses exclusively on Willis and Pfieffer, as well as when it steers clear of their shouting matches, which get a bit monotonous after a while. In the most intimate vignettes, their rapport is really organic and soulful, not least because of Reiner’s immaculate sense of mise-en-scene, which yearns for an ineffable romcom touch and texture that seems to be continually eluding his grasp. And that makes for quite a sweet, wistful tone, a romcom whose life is just starting to flash before its eyes, a feltgood film that fulfills all the lingering fears of When Harry Met Sally.