The Big Flip--Stories from the Modern Home Front (United States | 2016, 1 hr 5 min)

Directed by: Isabella Vincent Chan

The Big Flip is a documentary that explores the hidden struggles and triumphs of middle class American families who have “flipped” traditional gender roles—the wife wins the bread and the husband takes care of home and kids. Over 18 months, The Big Flip follows the lives of four “flipped” families as they navigate through major life changes—a birth, a lay-off, a cross-country move, and a mid-life crisis. With baby number 4 on the way, Bonnie and Chip (Portland, Oregon) are working through a delicate transition. Bonnie has been frustrated by how much she has to do at home while being the primary breadwinner. After much debate, Chip steps away from his flailing business to be the lead parent for his growing family. Chuck and Amy (Washington, D.C.) are comfortable with Amy as the main earner and Chuck supplementing. But when Chuck is laid off, the loss of income is keenly felt in this modest middle-class family. Julee and Ross (Nashville, Tennessee) see their flip as temporary while Ross launches his career as an actor. They are moving the family across the country to Los Angeles with high hopes for their opportunities in California. Fred and Robyn (Seattle, Washington) are stuck in a rut. They fell in love as young, carefree snowboarders. But 15 years and 2 kids later, Robyn feels trapped as the sole income provider. Meanwhile Fred, his professional snowboarding career over, struggles to find his role in the work force. The film interweaves these emotional stories with interviews of three experts to explore the broader trends behind the flip. In a society where the majority of Americans still believe kids are better off with mom at home instead of at work, and divorce is 40% more likely when the wife is the breadwinner, The Big Flip captures the guilt and resentment that plague big flip families. But while it’s not easy, the documentary shows middle class America benefits from this freedom of choice, that children are happy and thriving, and that love can endure in The Big Flip.

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