BY THE SEA – review

BY THE SEA – Rated R

As we embark on a journey that Jolie-Pitt not only Directs, but pens this time too – we are transported to the coast of France in the 1970’s – strewn with epic beauty at every turn, as we meet former Dancer Vanessa (Angelina Jolie-Pitt) and her Writer Husband Roland (Brad Pitt).sea2

Struggling through nothing more than a mere “co-habitation” of a marriage, each day unfolds into a consorted effort to ease the pain of their lives with either alcohol or pills…as they desperately try to find a way to reconnect with one another.  sea1

Surrounding themselves with this breathtakingly beautiful countryside, it too can do nothing to ease Vanessa’s pain ~ that is until she finds a peephole in their hotel room, and starts to view from afar Lea (Melanie Laurent) and François (Melvil Poupaud) ~ the newly married couple enjoying their honeymoon next door…sea3

Still trying to find anyway he can to connect with his wife – and enjoy the comfort and love that most married couples do – Roland finds the hole in the wall too, as he comes to terms with what has been filling his wife’s days, as he has been away, attempting to write his next “epic novel”.

When Roland confronts Vanessa about her voyeuristic encounters, the two find that enjoying the views from the next room may be “just what the doctor ordered” to get their own marriage back on track

Still suffering from the debilitating loss that sidelined her months ago, Vanessa finds that getting beyond it, and not destroying her marriage in the process, might be best achieved back at home, devoid of all the distractions that inhabit the room next door…

I give BY THE SEA a rating of WAIT AND CATCH IT ON NETFLIX:  Even though this film is filled with fabulously beautiful cinematography ~ and fabulously beautiful stars ~ plus the epic classic movie feel of yesteryear that I SO LOVE, I was hoping to tell you to rush to a theater near you to see it, but sadly, I JUST CAN’T ~ And why you ask???  From the emotionless performances from both Jolie-Pitt and Pitt, to the incredibly drawn out storyline, to the “secret torture” that Vanessa is experiencing, even though the reason for it is exposed in the first 10 minutes of the film, BY THE SEA just didn’t do IT for me.  Maybe it was because I was hoping for the same epic chemistry we experienced from them as a married couple in MR. & MRS. SMITH, which doesn’t even remotely materialize this time around.  Maybe it was because I have loved so many of both Angelina and Brad’s films in the past.  Or maybe it’s because I was rooting for Jolie-Pitt as a Director this time around ~ as I think she was robbed for not getting a Best Director nod for UNBROKEN ~ but, regardless of my positive thoughts going in, even the voyeuristic storyline didn’t get me to excited about what I was watching, as I left the theater feeling blasé and unmoved from what I had just seen…

Kathy Kaiser 

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