Opening with a retro Universal Studio logo and a song sleepily proclaiming it to be a ‘perfect day’, By the Sea opens with Vanessa (Angelina Jolie Pitt) and Roland (Brad Pitt) checking in to a secluded Maltese resort. The superstar couple play a husband and wife trying to save their marriage by taking a vacation, but the distance is palpable: Roland struggles to write next to a smoking cigarette; Vanessa cries alone in an evening dress and pops a few pills before heading to bed; Roland drinks and muses; Vanessa despairingly watches young lovers walk along the shoreline.
“Are we ever going to talk about it? Vanessa? Do you hate me?” Roland’s voice echoes over Vanessa as she sinks under the water of a bat. “You know my reason,” she replies. “Do you want to hurt me?” He asks as shots of her pushing him off the bed violently, him shoving her against a wall, and other images of their domestic violence, tears, and frustration flash by. The trailer culminates in one still shot of Vanessa’s crumpled form lying on the floor of their hotel suite as Roland walks out the door with his coat, all to the tune of that ‘perfect day’.
The trailer reveals very little of the overall plotline other than an obviously troubled marriage, but it does offer some aesthetically beautiful shots courtesy of cinematographer Christian Berger. Though Jolie herself wrote and directed the film, the obvious highlight here is watching Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt collaborating again, a decade after their first movie together, Mr. & Mrs. Smith.
By the Sea is scheduled for release on November 13, 2015.