Excerpt: I won’t pretend that ‘By the Sea’ isn’t crippled by considerable flaws: bouts of outright silliness, patches of dialogue that border on self-parody, an admittedly languid pace (though I find myself falling into their rhythms, rather than resisting them), and a soapy third-act reveal that turns out to be pretty small potatoes. Yet there’s something unshakable about it, and something remarkable about the fact that it exists at all — that a major studio is releasing a film this (seemingly) personal, written and directed by a female filmmaker, which so eagerly subverts the sympathies and personas of its superstar leads.
Excerpt: It becomes obvious early on that whatever prompted Pitt and Jolie to make this movie is probably more interesting to them then it is to us. The story is as dull as dishwater, and that’s all the more frustrating because we know how spirited and engaging these two are. By the Sea is a struggle to sit through. It is less a story then a test of your patience.