Spending most or all of your life in Hollywood doesn’t mean that you know what it takes to make good movies. You would think that wouldn’t be the case, but as life shows us, being in such a position to learn doesn’t always translate into success. That’s how we get movies like By the Sea, a terrible picture from someone who grew up in the industry and also has an Academy Award.
Set in the 1970’s, By the Sea follows an American couple (Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie) who travel to a beautiful seaside resort in France. With their marriage in shambles, the once loving couple are struggling with a multitude of things including excessive drinking, depression and devastating secrets that have left deep emotional scars. All seems lost, but they soon find a strange spark once they meet the young newlyweds (Mélanie Laurent and Richard Bohringer) in the very next room.
The two leads in By the Sea spend a large chunk of their time doing nothing other than being depressed over something they refuse to actually talk about. It’s easy to figure out what their issue is, but they don’t utter the words until the movie is almost over with. Before this “revelation” is revealed, we’re asked to sit there and watch some uninteresting characters do some uninteresting things.
As we’re waiting and begging for By the Sea to reach its (anti)climax, we have to suffer through watching Brad Pitt’s alcoholic Roland Bertrand drink as he struggles to come up with ideas for his latest work as a writer. We also have to watch Angelina Jolie’s Vanessa Bertrand spend long periods of time laying on a bed, the chair on the porch or in a bathtub looking depressed. I don’t know about you, but this isn’t what I would consider to be entertainment. Even when they introduce the other couple at some point in the film, it’s still slow, dull and awkward.
I understand think that you may think that you have an artistic heart, but that doesn’t mean you have an artistic mind. Angelina Jolie, George Clooney and other actors from all over the world need to realize this. They need to come to terms with the fact that not every actor can be Ben Affleck or Jon Favreau when it comes to this sort of thing. Not everyone is capable of doing other things to express themselves. Although many don’t want to hear this, some of people just need to stick with what they’re good at. It’s what we all have to accept eventually.
To be more direct, they really need to stop letting Angelina Jolie write and direct movies. I don’t know if they need to stage some kind of intervention or what, but something needs to be done to prevent this from ever happening again. If you’re not going to do that, at least force her to take some filmmaking classes. At this point, all she’s doing is showing us why that writer strike a few years ago was a smart risk to take. It’s hard to make quality movies, so just let the people paid to do the writing and directing handle those parts of the game.
With all of that being said, By the Sea is a movie that everyone on the planet should skip. There’s absolutely know reason to watch this at any point in time. Anyone who knows me knows that I hate being rude or disrespectful in any way, but there isn’t a nicer way for me to put it. If movies like this are being made, then Hollywood needs to just take more risks by giving more creative people a chance to do something. I’m one hundred percent sure that it can’t get much worse. If I’m wrong, we need to stop making movies forever.
Director: Angelina Jolie
Film Length: 122 minutes
Release Date: November 13, 2015
Distributor: Universal Pictures