Ten years ago, Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt shared the screen for the first time in the mega-successful action comedy Mr. & Mrs. Smith, which earned $478 million worldwide. That film took a lighter approach to the subject of making a marriage work, but now the real-life couple is returning to that well for what looks to be a far more serious film.
In By the Sea, American writer Roland (Pitt) and his wife, Vanessa (Jolie), find themselves in a seaside resort in 1970s France, where their troubled marriage is put to the test. Mélanie Laurent, Niels Arestrup, Melvil Poupaud and Richard Bohringer play other travelers that the main characters encounter during their time in Europe.
Universal has just released the first teaser trailer for the film, and it goes to great lengths to establish the bleak, hard-hitting tone of the drama, as well as its thematic focus on the struggles of making a marriage work. Moreover, the footage wisely keeps the true nature of Roland and Vanessa's problems a mystery, allowing the reason for their marital issues to be revealed (hopefully) during the actual film itself (and not spoiled during its marketing campaign).
The film - written and directed by Jolie - is clearly a project close to the couple's heart, and the fact that the two co-stars are, of course, married in real life should only serve to add even more gravitas to the characters' journeys. In fact, this first footage does paint a cinematic picture that closely resembles other big-screen dissections of marriage, such as Eyes Wide Shut, Blue Valentine and Before Midnight. Given its prime release date in the middle of November, the film could easily end up as an awards contender if it manages to effectively communicate those same themes.
By the Sea marks Jolie's directorial follow-up to Unbroken and continues her development as a filmmaker to watch. Jolie - whose most recent hit while working in front of the camera was Disney's live-action fairy tale retelling Maleficent - is already set to direct Africa (possibly starring Pitt, too) as well as the fact-based drama First They Killed My Father for Netflix. She clearly has a developing skill behind the camera, and By the Sea could represent the next step in her evolution as a director. We shall find out soon enough, of course.
By the Sea is scheduled to open in U.S. theaters on November 13th, 2015.
Source: Universal Pictures