Angelina Jolie seems to have disappointed the critics, all around the world. Her production, ‘By The Sea’ is an exquisite view, not only of a jaw-dropping landscape of the coast of Sourthern France, but also of Roland and Vanessa, a married couple in crisis. Now, the reason why the critics (especially the American ones) were disappointed is obvious: Angelina’s piece is fabulously French; very distant from her American roots.
With that in mind, her work should be criticised from that point of view. Not many have been able to appreciate Angelina’s ability to adapt everything to the kind of style she wants, like the best directors do. What’s clear is not only her value, but the research that she must have done to create this slow and intimate drama. So, you’ll be in for a great disadvantage if French cinema is not your cup of tea.
Although the plot is quite a weak one, the production and Angelina’s presence perfectly cope with it. As said, she has embodied perfectly that French essence in every single detail: from the recreation to her 70’s Yves Saint Laurent sunglasses. Elegance and good taste is always present, even when Roland (portrayed by Brad Pitt) gets drunk…just because he needs inspiration to write.
Though both Brad, and especially Angelina are superb (as always) it’s hard to understand the intimacy: ‘By The Sea’ shows a raw and real relationship between a man and a woman. Because it’s all about that, that’s why it maintains such a slow pace, the focus is on them: they are the story. The contrast with their young neighbours, another married couple (portrayed by Melánie Laurent and Melvil Poupard) also adds more drama to the situation.
But, please, don’t be disappointed with what Angelina has done. Even though she can do better, her intention was to capture what’s love in an almost broken relationship. It’s all about watching, literally: for once, you won’t feel bad for becoming a voyeur!