Saturday, January 21, 2017

By the Sea

Year 9, Day 21 - 1/21/17 - Movie #2,521

BEFORE: Brad Pitt carries over again from "Kalifornia".  I really added this one as a chain extender, so that certain movies will fall where I want them to in February.  I think this is the last of the relationship-based films until the romance chain starts up for real next week.  

THE PLOT: A couple tries to repair their marriage while staying at a hotel in France.

AFTER: I would recommend this only to someone who wants to know how Brangelina spent their honeymoon - the couple got married in 2014 after nine years together, and then divorced two years later.  Which seems rather pointless, and by itself is not a ringing endorsement for marriage - but before the split, they filmed this movie together while honeymooning.  

It naturally leads one to wonder where the story leaves off and the autobiographical stuff begins, even though the film is set in the mid-1970's, Jolie plays Vanessa, an actress who is no longer being hired due to her age, so there's at least a subtle dig at the Hollywood industry that discards women over 40 (heck, 30 even...) while a lot of complex personal issues between a couple are getting hashed out in an idyllic hotel setting.  

Brad plays Roland, a writer who can't seem to find his next story idea, no matter how many glasses of gin he drinks for breakfast, or how many personal questions he asks the man who runs the café.  All the time he spends in the café, though, helps reduce the standard boring shots of a writer using a manual typewriter, or worse, staring at a blank page that's loaded in to the manual typewriter.  This guy's so far beyond writer's block that he doesn't even bother sitting down to try, which quite honestly seems like a better solution - get out and find that story, don't stare at the page until you have it.  

The couple is great at avoiding each other, whenever one comes into the hotel room the other decides to go out for a walk, or go back to the pub or in Vanessa's case, somehow demean herself to go on a shopping trip for bread and coffee, like she's gone incredibly out of her way.  Most of the rest of the time, she just seems to want to sit in the room, or sit on the balcony, or sit in the tub.  There's a lot of footage of Angelina Jolie sitting, is what I'm trying to say.  And recoiling from her husband's touch.

The only thing she seems interested in doing is spying on the newlywed couple in the next room, but that seems to bring up a lot of issues and feelings, both good and bad.  We the audience can only hope that this will somehow help them get to the bottom of whatever dispute they're having, or what incident in their past they're trying to overcome.  So much for three-act structure, it's really thrown out the (hotel) window here.  And a hat and sunglasses technically don't count as character exposition.

Still, I managed to stay awake for the whole film, and it's good to know that getting all your issues with your wife out in the open seems to be the cure for writer's block...

Also starring Angelina Jolie (last heard in "Kung Fu Panda 3"), Melanie Laurent (last seen in "Now You See Me"), Melvil Poupaud, Niels Arestrup.  

RATING: 3 out of 10 fresh lobsters

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