At First Glance: “By the Sea”

Reunited on screen couples or duos are sometimes the only thing needed to drive a film. Add in the fact that the set of actors are well known, and can usually draw big crowds, and you’ve got yourself a potential winner, well before any real footage is actually seen. It’s one thing that makes waiting so long for even a teaser trailer worth it.

The upcoming Universal Pictures film “By the Sea”, looks downright gloomy, violent, and messy, which could be good for a dramatic film such as this.

This period drama stars Brad Pitt (“Fury”, “The Counselor”), Angelina Jolie Pitt (upcoming “Kung Fu Panda 3”, “Maleficent”), Mélanie Laurent (“Aloft”, “Enemy”), Niels Arestrup (“96 heures”, “Diplomatie”), Melvil Poupaud (“Fidelio, Alice’s Journey”, “As Linhas de Torres Vedras”), and Richard Bohringer (“Le mystere des jonquilles”, “Dors mon lapin”).

The film was written and directed by Jolie Pitt (“Unbroken”, “In the Land of Blood and Honey”).

The film is expected to hit theaters on November 13, 2015.
The first teaser trailer is finally here! It’s always a pleasant surprise when a trailer for a film you’ve been excited about debuts, even if that means disrupting the flow of your day for a few minutes, or in this case, hours. It’s been 10 years since Pitt and Jolie Pitt have starred in a movie together, and it looks like we’re going to be getting a worth while, albeit drastically different pairing, which includes strong performances. I’m more on the optimistic side right now, as this trailer doesn’t really tell me anything about the performances they’ll give. This, as it turns out, is also serving as the debut of the directors new name (Jolie Pitt) although news outlets have been writing it as such for some time, and I’m not sure if this is a legal thing too, or just a creative one, which I’m absolutely okay with. I literally exclaimed and kind of jumped when I saw the teaser using this name in place of the one we saw last year in the credits for “Unbroken”. Who knew a slight name change could elicit such a reaction? Maybe I’ll be the only one.

To add to the excitement, however bizarre it may be, is the fact that the teaser trailer itself opened with an older Universal Pictures logo. Another thing that could just be me. It’s rare that a studio will go back and use an older logo for a film, unless it’s one that seems to really deserve it. By that thought, I can’t, at this moment, supply examples as to what qualify’s a film as deserving. I mainly can’t even think of the last time in the last few years a studio swapped out the current logo for an older one. I know there was one, but can’t recall it right now. Either way, it isn’t just something I find really cool that the studio wanted to do, but that it might say something about the relationship Jolie Pitt has with studio heads at Universal. It also might show that the studio is really supportive of this film, beyond any potential awards recognition it may receive. If only all studios could seem that confident right out of the gate.

I get excited about a lot of things that make up a film, which I dare say most probably never consider as much as I do. Because of that, I must mention this next thing, also because it’s unavoidable. The setting of this film. I mean setting in just about every way you possibly can. There’s the time period, locations, and… well, actually that appears to be all there is really. Oh! there’s tone too! The costumes are going to play a large part in bringing this story to life, especially as it’s a film set in the ‘70s. That aspect alone, I believe, is what could help this film. It could lead to a beautifully crafted film on all fronts. I’m even excited by some of the cinematography choices as well as the set designs and decorations. There’s certainly a darker tone present, and that’s not just because of where the lead character’s relationship is. Back to setting. This setting I believe will pay off. Jolie Pitt has stated a few times that the reason for this time period is that it’ll keep the action of the film less distracted than if it were set in the present time. All the audience has to contend with are the different personalities from the characters that show up. Solid reason to me. And while we may only be getting Malta as a stand in for France, judging on what’s been shown, I will not know the difference when I see this film in theaters.

Then, of course, there’s the two leads. I can’t not talk about the leads. This is partly what’s going to drive people’s attention. Today, as I looked, for some reason, on Twitter, it seemed to. The film (don’t know for how long) was actually trending at one point today. Not bad for a new film with now only one trailer to show for it. They did a wonderful job 10 years ago, that we know, plus they can do well individually, so will they be able to find success here? That’s the multi-million dollar question. That’s also the worst thing about teaser trailers, apart from if you went in knowing nothing about the film’s plot, you may be confused by what’s occurring in the trailer. Sure there were a few lines spoken, and quick glances at extremely unhappy and volatile people, but that could ultimately mean nothing. It looks good now, but it may come off as melodramatic when you see the whole film. Again, I’m still optimistic. Okay, let’s go with cautiously optimistic. I like that one better. There’s a little bit more of a safety net.

Some people wait years to see a reunion of actors on screen. Others never get this reunion. I wasn’t even aware this was a thing I wanted, or needed, until it was announced some time last year. While each actor has done enough bad to okay films, they’ve done some really good ones too, or been part of one in some behind the scenes fashion. For me, that’s all the motivation I need to get behind and get even more excited for this film, even if this film will probably be one long depressing experience.


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