By The Sea

1 December 2015 | 2:31 pm | Vicki Englund

"The homage has some points in its favour but really tests the patience of its audience."

Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie haven't been seen together on screen since their fateful pairing in Mr And Mrs Smith, so there's understandably been a lot of anticipation about this co-starring vehicle, written and directed by Jolie (billed as Angelina Jolie Pitt).

Jolie might be a big fan of French New Wave films, with By The Sea seeming to take its lead from them. Set in France during the '70s, with minimal dialogue and lots of shots of beautiful people gazing into the distance, the homage has some points in its favour but really tests the patience of its audience.

Troubled married couple Vanessa (Jolie) and Roland (Pitt) turn up at a remote resort on the Cote d'Azur where heavy drinker Roland, is trying to write a novel with little success, and Vanessa mopes around all day smoking and wallowing in a puzzling depression. When Vanessa finds a hole in the wall between their room and the newlywed couple's next door, she starts spying on their lovemaking. Roland ends up joining her in an effort to share any intimacy with his wife, who usually rejects him. We eventually find out what's tearing this couple apart, but it takes a very long time without a lot of satisfaction along the way.

By The Sea is shot beautifully and Hollywood's golden couple do a fine job of speaking fluent French. However, it ends up being more of a curiosity than a film you can really recommend, and you can't help feeling that no-one else would've raised the funds to make it unless their last name was Jolie Pitt.

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