I was bracing myself because everyone has been saying that Angelina Jolie-Pitt’d “By The Sea” isn’t really good, and when I saw the running time (One hundred twenty two minutes) I inwardly groaned. Do I want to spend that much time on this vanity project? Time flew fast, honestly, when I was watching the film, because the movie is so beautiful to look at that I never felt bored. There was always something, visually, to concentrate on. Well, probably because there’s not much plot here to occupy you. Jolie-Pitt has a great eye for visuals – the scenes are full of pretty people and pretty things in a pretty location (Malta, here) – and truth be told, I was mesmerized by it all. It’s liek a fashion show come to life, in a breathtaking location.
It’s style over substance, of course. There isn’t much to the main characters, Jolie Pitt as Vanessa, and Brad Pitt as Roland, a couple having relationship problems who goes to a seaside resort to brood and drink and pop pills. The tone is languid, and lazy, probably to make the audience feel the atmosphere. I have never been a fan of Jolie Pitt’s acting – her offline personality seems too big for her characters and I never see her disappear into them. In here, she seems more Angelina than usual. I dismissed any notion of an character and just looked at Vanessa as really Angelina. I think she meant it to be that way. Pitt is a little more malleable of an actor, but here I just saw Roland as Brad. This movie was basically Brangelina in the flesh.
A young couple comes in as a distraction to my Brangelina gawking – honeymooners who take the next room. Vanessa sees a hole in the wall, and she starts to spy them. Then Roland joins in. And we see both of them drinking wine, and taking turns peeking at the couple making love. I mean, who needs television, or the seaside view, right? It’s surreal but kind of funny – Brangelina laughing at you in our face.
I didn’t hate the movie I get what Jolie-Pitt is trying to achieve. It may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but this tea is poured on the most exquisite china, in the most classic patterns, and I really appreciate that, I really do.