True Review Movie – English - By The Seaby The Daily Eye Team November 13 2015, 9:23 pm Estimated Reading Time: 3 mins, 30 secs
Critics rating: 0.5 Stars
Cast : Angelina Jolie Pitt, Brad Pitt .
Direction: Angelina Jolie Pitt.
Produced: Angelina Jolie Pitt, Brad Pitt .
Written: Angelina Jolie Pitt.
Duration: 132 Mins
Meta with a vengeance, “By the Sea” stars Angelina Jolie Pitt and Brad Pitt as itinerant married artists who are suffering, beautifully, through a rough patch. Any resemblance to real life is strictly coincidental and completely intentional. At first luxurious blush it’s a jet-setting marital melodrama, one of those he-said, she-said (and wept) encounter sessions decked with designer shades, to-die-for digs and millionaire tears. More interestingly, the movie, which Ms. Jolie Pitt wrote and directed, is a knowing or at least a ticklishly amusing demonstration of celebrity and its relay of gazes from one of the most looked-at women in the world. Take, watch, she seems to say, this is my body.
And, man, does she know how to make an entrance. Supremely self-aware, Ms. Jolie Pitt introduces her marrieds — Vanessa and Roland — like the international movie stars they’re played by, with the two roaring into the picture in a silver Citroën convertible with Mr. Pitt behind the wheel. They look as glamorous as a Vanity Fair spread, he in his sporty mustache and porkpie hat and she in an animal-print hat the size of a beach umbrella. It’s the kind of statement accessory that you can imagine Elizabeth Taylor upstaging when she went tootling around with her husband, Richard Burton, back when they were co-starring, on screen and off, as the world’s most famous couple.
“By the Sea” takes place in the early 1970s, just around the time Liz and Dick were starring in “Divorce His, Divorce Hers,” a marital made-for-TV drama that, like some of the big-screen films they made together, played on the similarities between the actors and their characters. (Their lives imitated fiction again when they announced their separation after the movie’s broadcast.) It’s impossible to imagine Ms. Jolie Pitt rip-roaring it up in public like Taylor, who lived her life out loud as she perfected playing Elizabeth Taylor, the role of a lifetime. Ms. Jolie Pitt, by contrast, like others in her elite Madonna-schooled sorority (Beyoncé, et al.), has been engaged in an exceptionally skilled version of celebrity peekaboo for some time — now you see the “real” her, now you don’t.
The game continues in “By the Sea,” which starts lightly enough with Vanessa and Roland’s moving into a French hotel nestled in a Mediterranean cove seemingly used only by a single diligent fisherman and a few desultory extras. (Malta plays the South of France, if not especially convincingly.) There, they set up house with piles of Louis Vuitton luggage and bottles of booze and pills, as well as a red manual typewriter. A novelist, Roland has come to the hotel to work but ends up spending most of his time at the local bar, his pen impotently hovering over white pages, while Vanessa lounges in and out of bed, her ruined eye makeup streaking her wet face like black tears. These salty pearls are the foundation for the story that she will write, one monumental tear at a time.
And so Vanessa weeps and she weeps, sometimes while framed in a window of the hotel and generally while dressed in one of her black or white negligees. Working with the excellent cinematographer Christian Berger, Ms. Jolie Pitt seems to be giving her audience exactly what it demands, on screen and off: herself. In medium shots and close-ups, in daytime and night, she turns her face and body (or rather Vanessa’s) into a landscape of classic feminine suffering, becoming our latest cinematic lady of perpetual misery. In one shot, Vanessa stands at a window smoking, her eyes hidden behind her oversize Yves Saint Laurent glasses; in another, she sits on a bed, eyes shiny and unfocused; in another, she stretches out catlike on a chair until her body fills the frame from coifed head to perfect toe.