Set in France during the mid-1970s, Vanessa, a former dancer, and her husband Roland, an American writer, travel the country together. They seem to be growing apart, but when they linger in one quiet, seaside town they begin to draw close to some of its more vibrant inhabitants, such as a local bar/café-keeper and a hotel owner. Written by
The Citroën DS Chapon convertible is a nearly fifty-year-old French sports car. See more »
During one of his drinking binges, Roland (Brad Pitt) knocks his shot glass off the counter, and clumsily wipes up the mess. During the following conversation with the bartender, the shot glass is missing, then reappears on the counter in front of Roland, then is missing again. See more »
Do you see that fisherman? He goes out every day, comes back every night. Hardly catches any fish. What keeps him from going insane? From being so tired of it all? What is it we don't know?
See more »
The film opens with the early 1970's Universal Pictures logo. See more »
Ultra slow-moving relationship drama finds a pulse in the second half
"By The Sea" (2015 release; 122 min.) brings the story of married couple Roland (played by Brad Pitt) and Vanessa (played by Angeline Jolie). As the move opens, we see them driving in a gorgeous 1960s Citroen convertible somewhere in the south of France, while Jane Birkin's "Jane B" is blasting on the radio. Roland and Vanessa find an agreeable spot close by the sea and decide to stay there. Eventually another married couple (some years younger, though) ends up in the hotel room next to Vanessa and Roland, not aware that Vanessa found a peep hole, allowing them to look in the other room. To tell you more would spoil your viewing experience, you'll just have to see for yourself how it all plays out.
Couple of comments: this is the third movie in the last 3 years directed by Angelina Jolie (she also wrote the script), but the first one where she directs herself (and Brad). It's been exactly 10 years since Angelina and Brad co-starred (ironically also in a struggling marriage, but of a very different kind!). If it sounds from my introductory lines that a lot is happening in the movie, think again. This is an ultra-slow moving film. You would think that this would allow us to get to know these characters, but alas, that is not the case either. We know virtually nothing as to why the marriage is in trouble, and can only speculate why Vanessa seems depressed, if not worse, and why Roland is experiencing writer's block. Despite all that, the movie does find some traction in the second half, just in the nick of time, frankly. The movie's photography is drop-dead gorgeous (filmed in Malta, that stood in as the south of France). The movie features a number of big French movie stars, including Melvil Poupaud and the beautiful Melanie Laurent (as the other married couple) and Niels Arestrup (as the café tender). There is a ton of great music featured in the movie, both in the musical score, as well as French songs from that era (think Serge Gainsbourg, Jane Birkin, Jacques Dutronc, Sheila, etc.).
"By The Sea" opened this weekend at my local art-house theater here in Cincinnati, and since I don't expect this to play in theaters very long, I went to see it right away. The Saturday early evening screening where I saw this at was attended dismally (4 people, including myself). I can't say it surprised me as the vibe around this movie has not been great. I nevertheless was curious about it (due to a clever trailer, frankly). If you are interested in catching a slow-moving relationship drama that is way off-center, I encourage you this give this a try, be it in the theater (better hurry!), on VAD or eventually on DVD/Blu-ray.
34 of 53 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?