Vanessa and Roland are beautiful, artistic, and rich enough for an indefinite stay in the French Mediterranean, but By the Sea beckons you to feel sorry for them. The arthouse effort directed by Angelina Jolie Pitt—who also stars as Vanessa, alongside husband Brad as Roland—has flawless style. She's cold and bored, and begins spying on the young honeymooners in the next room, occasionally inducing flashbacks to obscure biological matter. Thus, "What's wrong with her?" becomes Sea's groundbreaking central mystery. There's a brief period—after you've hated them for not enjoying their arrangement, and before you've realized their precious ennui secret was the most banal of your suspicions—when Vanessa and Roland become conspiratorial and weird, eating dinner next to the hole in the wall where they take turns spying and draining bottles of wine. This is Sea at its most substantial, turning its focus on the slippery intersection of vicariousness and misery. But then Sea concludes with an almost comical haste, leading one to exit the theater with the feeling that you've basically wasted your time—but at least you've had the pleasure of doing so under attractive circumstances (132 min.).
Director: Angelina Jolie Pitt
Producer: Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie Pitt, Michael Vieira, Holly Goline-Sadowski and Chris Brigham
Cast: Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie Pitt, Mélanie Laurent, Melvil Poupaud, Niels Arestrup, Richard Bohringer, Marika Green and Sarah Naudi