By the Sea: a movie review

By the Sea

Directed by: Angelina Jolie

Release date: December 9 2015

Starring: Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt

This is a story of the two most unhappy people in the world…

Roland, a man with a passion for ink and paper. A drink in hand. A cigarette burning. His process is to leave by day, struggle to form any kind of story and return at night, contentious and belligerent

Vanessa, a woman above it all. Stoic, beautiful and harboring a secret that cannot cross her lips for if it does it will break the one wall she has left. The wall that is keeping everyone out including Roland

Set in the mid 1970’s in France we follow Roland and Vanessa through a span of time in which this couple who seem to have it all, have actually lost it all. They have lost themselves and each other. They move into a picturesque flat by the sea, so that Roland may once again find his voice and write another novel. During the day while he is drinking and trying to write Vanessa is left in the flat, alone and unhappy. In the next room a young couple, newlyweds have begun their honeymoon. Vanessa can hear their cries of passion and we begin to see a little more of what could be plaguing her. Unbeknownst to Roland, Vanessa had found a peep hole near their bed where an old pipe once was. It now shows inside the newlyweds room with a perfect view of their bed. As time goes on Vanessa becomes obsessed with this new couple and brings Roland into her voyeuristic ways.Her way of coping. This begins to spark something between the couple. Roland and Vanessa start to fall in love again. They have found this strange and painful commonality that is bringing them back together. They befriend this couple so that they can be apart of what they have been watching.They arent doing this for sex, they are doing this to become close again. To find the love they once had. One night after Vanessa and the young wife go shopping, Roland coming home from another day of drinking and writing runs into the couple and notices that they are both dressed very similar to him and Vanessa. This is the turning point of the story. In an attempt to understand what Vanessa needs, Roland confronts her with no success. Roland begins to wonder. Wonder why when he decides to come home early, that Vanessa is not in the flat. He looks into the next room and Vanessa has gone over to seduce the young husband. Roland crashes in, beats the husband and finally confronts Vanessa with the secret she cannot bear to utter. She is barren. She cannot hold children after numerous attempts and this is what has led to the angst, and resentment between them. This is also a turning point because now that Vanessa has heard the word Barren, she is faced with having to accept it. Roland all the while has found his story and the closing scene is of him finishing his final page. The title… By the Sea.

This was one of the most elegant and beautiful movies I have ever watched. I know that from the description you may think that I am crazy but I really am not. This is a story of the saddest people in the entire world. It’s about a couple who were so in love at one time, lost each other, but will not bring themselves to leave each other. This was one of the things I found so stunning. I am a firm believer in being happily unmarried, than unhappily married however, this is reality for so many couples and Jolie has made that known and thrown it out there for us to see. Her characters were amazing and she and Pitt executed them perfectly. I was very excited to see them in another movie together as they have not starred in one, as a couple since Mr. and Mrs. Smith. Their dynamic is mind-blowing. You can see that they work well together and feed off of each other in a way that many celebrity husband and wives cannot. I have not seen a couple share so much angst for each other since Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet in Revolutionary Road and this movie is reminiscent of that as well. Jolie did a fabulous job as director and writer. She came up with a story that is not easy to tell and not easy to write. She made this story one to be heard.

As far as acting goes Jolie embodied such a deep rooted angst and jealousy that just vibrated off of her. When you first see her and hear her first lines “It smells like fish.” you know this is a woman who does not have time for childish games or being apart of  the general population.Jolie, who as an actress is a force to be reckoned with has really grasped the concept of feeling weak, of feeling little and alone. Pitt was outstanding. He captured the very essence of what a struggling writer really was. He was a husband scorned because of something that he could not control. All he wanted was to have his wife want him and need him.

This was such a fantastic movie and one that I have been waiting to see. I will be purchasing it tomorrow! If you want to see a movie that will make you weep, but also make you wonder and keep you guessing I highly recommend it. I was one of the most damaged and beautiful movies I have ever seen.



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