‘The Way We Were’ Ending Explained: Katie Deserved Better


The Way We Were is a heartbreaking movie from 1973. While you might not like romantic movies, this one will stick in your head longer than you think. Sydney Irwin Pollack directed “The Way We Were” just to break our hearts with the ending. The movie tells you about love and how it comes and destroys you no matter how hard you try. They say one-sided love is painful, but I think a one-sided relationship is worse. Take the example of Katie and Hubbell. They were perfect in their fields, young, attractive, liberal enough to respect differences. They had the same college; she was an activist, he was an excellent athlete; she was brave, and he was the one who looked for the easiest in all areas. Oh, to fall in love with a coward! Katie must wish she knew how cowardly Hubbell was before she fell in love with him.

However, they did not date in college. Ironically, they had a bittersweet encounter each time. Hubbell was dating Carol Ann at the time, and Katie, well, she didn’t have time for anything absurd. They find themselves. It was an unexpected incident. They met at a party after a long time, after World War II, and they fell in love. Nevertheless, perhaps only Katie fell.

Plot of the movie The Way We Were

In college, Katie is a Marxist Jew, encouraging others to stand against global hatred. Hubbell is a carefree man in love with Carol. He is the “main character” of the college. He’s an athlete, writes impressively, speaks kindly, looks good and doesn’t lose his temper. In short, it is just perfect! Katie surely idealizes him, but they share different views. Somehow they feel a warmth between them, but neither of them brings up the issue.

Years later, at the end of World War II, Katie is now working at a radio station. She remains a very open activist to give her opinion on any political subject. Hubbell, on the other hand, is now a naval officer. The weird twist is that Carol is married to JJ now. JJ has been Hubbell’s best friend since college. Anyway, they talk and Katie takes him home. She lives alone and they sleep together. Hubbell was drunk, and the next morning he seemed completely indifferent to what had happened last night. Katie, however, now expresses her love for him.

The way we ended explained
The short-lived happiness of Katie and Hubbell.

Hubbell doesn’t seem like the type of man Katie deserves, and he could see it, but Katie’s efforts could make the stone grow. Soon they get married and live happily for some time. Katie is offended by the jokes Hubbell’s best friends make mostly about political issues. Hubbell tried to stay patient, but he once broke up with Katie. However, the couple reconciled the same evening. It was as if an invisible force brought them closer despite all the obstacles.

Katie appreciates and encourages Hubbell’s writings. He resumed writing and later became a screenwriter. They move to Hollywood, but the differences remain the same until the time of McCarthyism. Katie has become silent. You could feel the sad lady through the screen; it was so painful! But the unfair part followed after this painful change. Hubbell was having an affair with Carol, even though Katie was pregnant, and he was fully aware of it. Carol and JJ divorced shortly before Hubble, and she got back together. Katie had to see everything, in silence! And when she confronts him, asking, “Are you still a nice nice boy?” To which the man replies: “I have never been”. And in that moment, Katie realized that she had always idealized him, but he had never been so good.

The way we ended explained
Katie and Hubbell in Hubbell’s Friend’s Classy Party

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“The Way We Were” Ending Explained

Katie finds out that Hubbell cheated on her with Carol. As she confronts, she realizes that he was never the man she thought she was. It was she who continued to stare at the goods and ignore the ugly parts of him. Hubbell was never a gentleman. She always asks him to stay until the baby is born, and he stays. They have a baby girl, whom she names “Rachel”, after her mother. Even the love of the baby couldn’t bring them together. Looking through my eyes, when Katie stopped trying, their relationship fell apart.

And yet, after years, Katie hands out flyers written “BAN-THE-BOMB” outside a fancy hotel. Fate brings them together again. This time Hubbell has a well-dressed woman next to him, probably his girlfriend, and Katie is married. They meet and talk, she’s who she was, and he’s now a TV show writer. Katie offers him a drink and also invites his wife over. Hubbell politely declined the invitation. They still had something. That feeling of being together was still there, stronger than ever, as if growing over time. How ironic people lose interest when they stay together for a long time, and this incredibly different couple still feels the attraction.

Did Hubbell cheat on Katie in The Way We Were
One last time, Katie does Hubbell’s hair. Oh the pain!

They manage to avoid envy even though that is what they want. Hubbell asks about Katie’s husband and their baby, Rachel. By the way, he asks, it is quite clear that he never tried to contact even his baby. Katie isn’t mad at Hubbell, she smiles, but the pain is clearly visible in her eyes. Hubbell broke it!

The film is now out of dialogue after “See you later, Hubbell”. Katie stands on the other side of the road, very aware that he is not worthy of having her but wishes they were as they were.

Hubble was never a gentleman

He had a girlfriend when he danced so intimately with Katie in college. He kissed the drunk lady and didn’t even bother to address the issue. Hubbell couldn’t be strong enough to push for Katie when she was willing to change her entire existence just for her business. He cheated on her when she was carrying their baby. How could he present masculinity more miserably? And even when we see him at the end, he has no regrets, no embarrassment. He “moved on”. Pathetic!

Who is Hubbell in The Way We Were
Hubbell Gardiner from The Way We Were

The cast of the film

The Way We Were features Barbara Streisand as Katie Morosky and Robert Redford as Hubbell Gardiner. We also see Bradford Dillman as JJ, Hubbell’s best friend. Next, we have Lois Cleveland Chiles as Carol Ann, Hubbell’s college girlfriend and JJ’s wife. The couple divorced later in the film.

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