Screening Room: ‘By the Sea’

Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt in 'By the Sea' (Universal Pictures)
Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt in ‘By the Sea’ (Universal Pictures)

Set in the 1970s, By the Sea stars Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt as a couple traveling through France as their relationship nears collapse.

bythesea-posterWritten and directed by Jolie, By the Sea opened this week. My review is at Film Journal International:

A divertingly gorgeous mediocrity, By the Sea arrives onscreen pushing a trainload of expectations ahead of itself. After Angelina Jolie Pitt’s little-seen In the Land of Blood and Honey and last year’s Unbroken, this stands as her first broad test of her abilities as a writer-director. Unlike those war dramas, this chamber piece has no historical resonance or book-club fans to fall back on. There’s just a hotel room, some pretty scenery, and a couple whose marriage is disintegrating. Add to that a stealthy ad campaign, a vague trailer hinting at 1970s Bertolucci-like decadence, and the first pairing of Jolie and her now-husband Brad Pitt since they played another warring couple in Mr. & Mrs. Smith, and you have a movie almost guaranteed to attract all the wrong kinds of attention…

Here’s the trailer:

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