By The Sea (2015)

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Critic Consensus: By the Sea may intrigue celebrity voyeurs or fans of a certain type of arthouse cinema, but for most viewers, its beauty won't be enough to offset its narrative inertia.

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Movie Info

A married couple takes a vacation in France in the 1970s and find that their time in a sleepy seaside town, complete with a unique array of locals, strengthens their bond and reaffirms their marriage.

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Cast

Brad Pitt
as Roland
Melvil Poupaud
as François
Niels Arestrup
as Bar Keeper
Sarah Naudi
as Grocery Clerk
Richard Bohringer
as Hotel Owner
Marika Green
as Dress Shop Saleswoman
Aldo Buontempo
as Fisherman
Francis Xuereb
as Hotel Receptionist
Kathleen Beethans
as Older Couple
Bjorn Kubin
as Fancy Couple at Café
Penny Dix
as Fancy Couple at Café
George Camilleri
as Waiter in Café
Arcadia Vodka
as Café Cat
Indi Marceau Coppola
as Child in Hotel
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News & Interviews for By The Sea

Critic Reviews for By The Sea

All Critics (152) | Top Critics (38)

It's a fascinating experiment, and proof that Jolie truly has directorial chops and an extraordinary eye for imagery.

Dec 31, 2015 | Full Review…

Angelina and Brad do have that longed-for commodity: chemistry, though it bubbles away to nothing at the end.

Dec 10, 2015 | Rating: 2/5 | Full Review…

The actors aren't unhinged enough for the scathing conceit, and the script is more of a mechanism than a revelation.

Nov 23, 2015 | Full Review…

The point to all this seems to be life is cruel and people are jerks, but sometimes very good-looking jerks. Deep.

Nov 20, 2015 | Rating: C | Full Review…
Detroit News
Top Critic

Pitt invests the vague, cranky relationship with his usual intelligence and restraint, but the movie is destined to rank with such celebrity-couple fiascos as Gigli (2003) and Shanghai Surprise (1986).

Nov 19, 2015 | Full Review…

It's very, very slow, with probably only 20 minutes in a two-plus-hour movie in which something could be said to be happening.

Nov 19, 2015 | Rating: 1/4 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for By The Sea

Yes the movie is a self-indulgent vanity project, but it's worst crime is being unbearably boring. If you're looking for a campy train wreck, you'll be sorely disappointed. Jolie seems to be trying to stylistically imitate a lavish, sad European art film but ends up with something a little closer to a Louis Vuitton commercial.

Alec Barniskis
Alec Barniskis

Super Reviewer

Fans of the two leads will appreciate this tongue-in-cheek double decker of a work that's clever fulcrum is the device of peeping an unknowing couple while we are in fact peeping perhaps the most peeped couple on the planet currently. We languor in a little French seaside resort town with a pair outwardly content but inwardly troubled. They are one good looking pair, you betcha, and the resort town struggles to keep pace as there are plenty of pensively-staring-out-into-the-distance shots (sunrise, sunset, nighttime, the full gamut). The tale is less interesting, yet and still not by very much. AND there's Brad and Angelina. Kiss. Kiss.

Kevin M. Williams
Kevin M. Williams

Super Reviewer

It's clear there is a driving force of sorts behind Angelina Jolie Pitt's (who I'll simply refer to as Jolie throughout this review because I'm not typing Jolie Pitt three hundred times) writing and direction, it's just not clear what that force is. While I never saw her debut, In the Land of Blood and Honey, last year's insanely promising but ultimately disappointing Unbroken more or less set the prospects for any future Jolie pictures to that of being hopeful, but not necessarily optimistic. While the less than enthusiastic response to Unbroken must have been a blow to not only the writer/directors ego, but to the faith she has in herself and her abilities it seems her reaction has been to return to the forum with a much lower-key project, inspired by the films of yesteryear and containing only a select number of characters. Jolie sets her film in the seventies and then isolates her characters to a French Riviera where this character study is almost forced into existence. Taking the idea of a strained marriage and somewhat bravely allowing such a dysfunctional portrait to be painted with herself and real life husband Brad Pitt in the roles Jolie goes for a restrained and bleakly artistic look at two people at the end of their ropes for reasons we're not exactly clear on. In fact, while I can appreciate a good slow burn, By the Sea is such a staggering epic of quietness and indulgence that the boredom overtakes the measured emotions by the time the twenty minute mark hits. The problem is the quiet characters and their inability to communicate make it difficult for the viewer to find anything interesting or worth investing in about them and thus the patience wears thin before the film ever glimpses it's portions that might seem interesting. There is a good movie in here somewhere, no doubt, a wholly engaging film about the natural dynamics of a seasoned couple and how the dealings of going through something unbelievably difficult while initially testing their bond might eventually lead to an even stronger one. Unfortunately, By the Sea is too generous with the amount of time we spend with this couple and too tedious in the events it depicts to be that film. read the whole review at www.reviewsfromabed.com

Philip Price
Philip Price

Super Reviewer

Well, so much for Angelina Jolie as the next big actor-turned- director. Don't get me wrong, I really liked Unbroken from last year, though it was a bit underwhelming and way below expectations. I have yet to see In the Land of Blood and Honey, her first film, but By the Sea is not a good film. I'll give her and Brad Pitt for experimenting and I think Jolie deserves to have a voice as a director in the future, but By the Sea fell completely flat. The one thing this film has going for it is its two leads. Knowing that Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie are married in real life adds to the realism of the story, but their performances alone accomplish that. The film is also absolutely gorgeous to look at. I think if you were learning how to be a great cinematographer, this would be a good film to watch without the volume on. It's use of almost all natural light is a thing of beauty. Unfortunately, the story itself is obscure and unproductive. I understood the story but I don't know that I understood exactly what the film was trying to say. The film revolves around a 1970's couple struggling to rekindle their marriage and they take to a small town in France for one last shot. Unfortunately, the film takes a few strange twists and turns that are so unnecessary and out of the ordinary that at times you feel like you're watching something fake or even a Lifetime movie. Whatever the film was trying to say about marriage or grief, it should have taken a different route to get to that message. The first half of the film was somewhat interesting, mostly because of Jolie and Pitt, but once it takes a turn for the worse and brings in a second couple the film goes off the rails and turns into a mess. +Pitt and Jolie's chemistry +Cinematography -What is it trying to say? -Strange second half -Gratuitous nudity 4.3/10

Thomas Drufke
Thomas Drufke

Super Reviewer

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