By the Sea is a retro-style film that seems to be mirrored after arthouse films, in some kind of boring parody. Even the presence of Hollywood’s most beautiful couple can’t make it interesting.
Anyway, this is a story of an uber-rich couple that needs to get away from a mysterious family tragedy (though honestly, I pegged it in the first ten minutes) and decides to go on a beach vacation to the South of France. There, they meet a younger, happier couple and you wait for the swinger’s party to start.
This is like an overdone porno that’s all lead and no payoff. I’ll say that Jolie and Pitt play a good rich married couple…because duh. I just wasn’t that invested in them and didn’t particularly care about them. You spend half the movie waiting for them to talk, and then when they do, you just want them to shut up.
I will say it’s a beautiful movie. That seems to be Jolie’s go to. Lots of beauty without much interest behind it. There’s gorgeous panning shots, pretty poses and elegant despair. It’s all incredibly beautiful. There’s a ton of nudity and sexual tension. I think it might have been a better photo than a movie. As a movie, it just doesn’t work for me. It’s an incredibly boring effort.
I think someone needs to tell Jolie that pretty isn’t everything. You need a story. There’s not one here. The tension doesn’t build and the dialog is awful. Heck, the reason the couple is so rich is because Pitt’s supposed to be this world famous writer.
But he talks like a world weary tax accountant. The dialog just doesn’t carry the movie. As a result, it feels like nothing more than a 90 minute photo session of Jolie, while she’s suffering from a serious case of depression.
Literally, like 80 minutes of the run time is watching Jolie move from one chaise lounge to another, draping her arm over her forehead and wondering about the emptiness of it all.
Also, it’s a bit weird that these two are married. How can a married couple have this little on-screen chemistry? I mean, it wasn’t just bad in this particular film. It was bad all the way back in Mr. and Mrs. Smith. I really think they should stop making movies together. There’s just something about having the two of them together in a movie that doesn’t work. It doesn’t make sense. They’re both beautiful, reasonably adept actors. It’s just something about the chemical reaction of them together that doesn’t carry over to film.
This movie is fun to look at, but not much fun to watch. The best I can suggest is to play it in the background when you want something to look at. The story is tedious, the dialog clumsy and sluggish and the characters poorly formed. Sometimes, even the best director and the best stars in a movie can’t fix an awful screenplay.
This is one of those times.
WE GAVE IT: 2.5 Stars