By the Sea

>> Sunday, November 6, 2016

I don't think I was ever really interested in watching this until my sister told me it was available on HBOGo. She "watched" it a few weeks ago, which means she didn't really sit through the whole thing but--at times--kept it running in the background while doing other things. A much less painful way to view this movie than what I went through. I actually watched the whole thing sitting down in front of my computer.

But I still took breaks. Specifically, I watched 35 minutes before I went to bed last night because I was too tired and this was even more boring than watching Spectre. Then I finished it this morning; although I did push pause quite a few times when making my breakfast.

There is a LOT of fluff in this movie. If you cut 1/3 of the movie out, then it might qualify as a drama rather than...I'm not sure what this really is...a mood piece? Last year when this came out, I considered what was said in the What the Flick?! review quite heavily since they have good discussions.

But now having seen it...they were too kind.

Angelina Jolie is not a good writer. At. All. The first line of dialogue is literally, "I smell fish." Wow. How surprising when you're by the sea! I have to give all the actors a lot of credit; they all save this thing. They are the only reason this thing has any life to it. I know people don't want to think that Brad Pitt can act, but I disagree. I think his performance here is one of the only things that holds this movie together. All AJ's character does is smoke and have the same pained expression on her face for most of the movie. And oh my god is she ever ridiculously skinny. They say the camera adds 10 pounds, but what did she really weigh in this movie? 100? She looks deathly thin and not at all healthy. I did not want to see her naked in the shower or in the bathtub. It was that painful to see. I'm of the opinion that her character's long dresses were specifically to hide how grotesquely skeletal she looks. Melanie Laurent doesn't have a tremendously voluptuous figure, but she looks quite normally fleshy and un-elderly compared to AJ. And her character's rationale for being so morose and depressed? I think it's completely ridiculous and doesn't match reality of most people going through those things, unless you're a spoiled brat and the world needs to revolve around you. I've known other people who have lost children and have far better attitudes about life.

But now that Brangelina is getting divorced--and let's not forget this entire movie is coming from her mind because she wrote AND directed it--I can't help but see this film as a reminder that she is fucked up. I read that Andrew Morton biography of AJ a few years ago. It's not a great book, and it's certainly not a great celebrity biography either. But it does have some good things to point out such as that AJ's mom wasn't the best mother, pretty much neglected AJ to a certain extent over her brother particularly as a young child, and built up/created AJ's hatred for her father because mommy wanted it that way. Plus, she was into observing & reading the tabloids during AJ's growing years, which is not a bad thing. But it's relevant when you consider how easily AJ has been able to manipulate the media into not calling out her bullshit in the last few years. She grew up seeing how people she and her parents knew were able to portray things a certain way in the press and has simply done the same thing herself. I remember her portraying a version of her childhood growing up where she didn't see her father much at all, but the reality is that Jon Voight tried to be around his kids as much as possible and coached her soccer team, etc. Not really convenient when you want to portray yourself as the underdog achieving success rather than success from a nepotistic atmosphere.

I agree with Scott Rudin; she is a minimally talented spoiled brat. She was most interesting as an actor 10+ years ago, but that's also because she was playing herself most of the time. That's always when she was most successful as an actor. I suppose she isn't really bad, but there's a certain lack of depth I don't think she can reach. Like, I believe Brad Pitt as an actor in this movie way more than I do her. He's definitely grown to be a better actor and has pushed himself. The guy did Se7en back when he could have done more regular blockbuster fare, and has done other niche films like The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford. And she wants...to join the House of Lords in the UK or something? But that would only be after dragging the father of her children in the press "for the health of her family." Yeah, whatever. I see through you Angie Jo.

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