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By the Sea

MPAA Rating: R-Rating (MPAA) for strong sexuality, nudity, and language.
not reviewed
Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Romance Drama
Year of Release:
USA Release:
November 13, 2015 (limited—10 theaters)
DVD: July 5, 2016
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Featuring: Brad PittRoland
Angelina Jolie PittVanessa
Mélanie Laurent … Lea
Melvil Poupaud … François
Niels Arestrup … Bar Keeper
Sarah Naudi … Clarisse
Richard Bohringer … Hotel Owner
Anna Cachia … Dancer
George Camilleri … Georges the Waiter
Frédéric Dessains … Pascal
Director: Angelina Jolie Pitt—“Unbroken” (2014), “In the Land of Blood and Honey” (2011)
Producer: Jolie Pas
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Distributor: Universal Picture
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Here’s what the distributor says about their film: “In its style, and its treatment of themes of the human experience, ‘By the Sea’ is inspired by European cinema and theater of the '60s and '70s.

Written, directed and produced by Academy Award® winner Angelina Jolie Pitt, ‘By the Sea’ serves as her directorial follow-up to Universal Pictures’ epic ‘Unbroken.’ The dramatic film stars Brad Pitt and Jolie Pitt, who are supported by an international ensemble led by Mélanie Laurent, Melvil Poupaud, Niels Arestrup and Richard Bohringer.

‘By the Sea’ follows an American writer named Roland (Pitt) and his wife, Vanessa (Jolie Pitt), who arrive in a tranquil and picturesque seaside resort in 1970s France, their marriage in apparent crisis. As they spend time with fellow travelers, including young newlyweds Lea (Laurent) and François (Poupaud), and village locals Michel (Arestrup) and Patrice (Bohringer), the couple begins to come to terms with unresolved issues in their own lives.

Jolie Pitt is joined behind the scenes by a key crew that includes cinematographer Christian Berger (‘The White Ribbon’), who used his Cine Reflect Lighting System to shoot the film; production designer Jon Hutman (‘Unbroken’); editor Patricia Rommel (‘The Lives of Others’); and costume designer Ellen Mirojnick (‘Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps’). Pitt joins her in production duties, while Chris Brigham (‘Inception’), Holly Goline-Sadowski (‘Unbroken’) and Michael Vieira (‘Unbroken’) serve as executive producers.”

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Movie Critics
…affectionate but inert ode to New Wave Cinema… feels like a film school project writ-large…
Scott Mendelson, Forbes
…pointless and glacially paced vanity project… [1½/4]
Mara Reinstein, US Weekly
…a pointless portrait of a suffering marriage…
Ella Taylor, Nation Public Radio (NPR)
…drowns in self-indulgence…
Bill Goodykoontz, The Arizona Republic
…Angelina Jolie Pitt’s sun-kissed marital drama is like a stylish car stuck in second gear… There’s not much in the little psychodrama between these two couples we can’t guess at a stroke…
Tim Robey, The Telegraph [UK]
…An unabashed vanity project that struggles to turn its own beautiful inertia into a virtue…
Justin Chang, Variety
“By the Sea” is not a film for everyone. For an hour or so, it doesn’t even feel like a film at all so much as a 132-minute perfume ad; a two-hour-plus Vogue shoot in stereo; an almost microscopic view of the pores, particles, and presence of one of the most famous women in the world…
Sophie Gilbert, The Atlantic
…grueling… Her first film as writer-director-actor borrows from Antonioni and Stanley Donen, but Jolie Pitt neglects to direct her own performance. …
Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian (UK)
…so Vanessa weeps and she weeps, sometimes while framed in a window of the hotel and generally while dressed in one of her black or white negligees… transforms Vanessa into a voyeur, and a ravenous one at that…
Manohla Dargis, The New York Times
…vanity project… They sulk, they smoke, they drink, they spy on the honeymooning couple in the next room through a peephole in the wall. In fact, if it weren't for the latter, hardly anything at all would happen in “By the Sea”… There's no catharsis at the end from the journey taken, just relief that it's over.
Todd McCarthy, The Hollywood Reporter
…while there are some fleeting pleasures in watching an A-list star use her clout to produce what is, essentially, an intimate art-house film for a major studio, it’s a pity that she can’t wring deeper insights or greater drama from the material. …
Tim Grierson, Screen Daily
…Pitts and glitz sans wits… a glacial pace…
Joe Morgenstern, The Wall Street Journal
…‘By the Sea’ drowns in its artsy pretensions… [C]
Tom Long, The Detroit News
…“By the Sea” has too much of many things—brooding, drinking, the pair acting out long-term marital malaise in what often feels like real time—and too little story. …
Rebecca Keegan, Los Angeles Times

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