Movie Reviews: 'By The Sea'

By Roy Geer

By The Sea (Review)

Written by Brad and Angelina Jolie Pitt
Directed by Angelina Jolie Pitt

Had I been a single man in his early thirties, even with my voracious appetite for good stories, I would have not seen this film. 

But as luck would have it, although I am in my early thirties, I am not single.  So at the behest of my lovely girlfriend I purchased our tickets and settled in for a viewing at the Cinemark in Boca Raton, FL. 

Side note; at what point do old (I mean OLD) people decide that talking as if they were doing a DVD commentary track throughout the entirety of a film becomes commonplace? I get it, you're old and have decided you no longer need to lend yourselves to society or its common courtesies but jeez! I never once thought at one point in my life would I be tempted to shush three old ladies as if they were the balcony curmudgeons in The Muppets during a Brangelina flick. But I digress...

The film is small in the regards of set and characters, but both are extremely rich and vibrant. As a well written play does, it pulls you in immediately with a beautiful drive in a beautiful car in beautiful France as "beautiful" Brad starts the movie in this beautiful language. 

There's something simmering between Brad and Angelina who are 14 years deep into their marriage that is outwardly on the rocks, as is there hotel room. 

The owner of the hotel and the subsequent bar downstairs are older men, the bar owner speaking of his passed wife with a wisdom only heartbreak and years of pain can bring about. Yet, Michele is delightful and patient but sad as only a widower could possibly be. He is my favorite character of the film. 

As a newlywed couple takes up residence in the next room over, a brooding Brad and Angelina see them as what they once were. Literally. 

Bubbling up to the surface through card games and a sailing adventure, the main characters mentally break over a dark secret that comes to light. The young couple next door are seemingly innocent bystanders by the time Brangelina are done as they agree "we just need to stop being such assholes". 

The backdrop to the film is simply stunning as is the acting, directing and pacing. Brad is at his best dealing with his demons and Angelina is superb taking turns in front and behind the lens. 

Slow but methodical and character driven, I would recommend this film to anyone with the patience and conviction it takes to read a book cover to cover. As long as you don't see this in Boca Raton.