Movie Review: By the Sea

In this dramatic and often dark film, Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie play a troubled couple on the verge of destruction (funny how life often mirrors art isn’t it?). The movie was filmed on their honeymoon in 2015. Jolie plays Vanessa, a former dancer – now depressed and unable to commit herself to anything, and Pitt plays Roland, a struggling writer. They have been married for 14 years, and things have taken a turn for the worse.

The cinematography in this film is absolutely stunning. Set in a French beachtown, with gorgeous beaches and expansive views, the dark mood is in stark contrast with the beauty that surrounds them. Or is it? It is often said that beauty is most vivid during times of pain. The movie is filmed in Malta on the island of Goza, and if you’ve never been there before, this film will motivate you to add it to your bucket list.

There are many tension-filled scenes throughout the movie. It is almost cringe-worthy to witness how Vanessa berates her husband over his lack of success as a writer. She knows exactly how to get him where it hurts the most. And on his end, he is often very forceful and unsympathetic about her depression and growing distaste of him.

A big part of the movie is the relationship that Vanessa and Roland have with the young, happy couple that are staying in the room beside them. The couple are light-hearted and carefree, and ooze sexuality and playfulness. Vanessa discovers a peephole from her bedroom, and watches them in fascination, getting a glimpse of what her marriage could be, or maybe what it once was. Roland tries to stay away from the beautiful blonde, perhaps because he has been drawn to indiscretions in the past.

Throughout the movie you wonder, what on earth could have brought Vanessa and Roland to this state? We do eventually learn the cause of their pain which helps the viewer make sense of their level of hostility and downright hatred towards each other at times. It’s hard to tell if they even love each other at all – maybe they did once, but the love became twisted because of the hardships they experienced – rather than sticking together, they somehow turned against each other.

brad-and-angie-by-the-sea
Pitt & Jolie, ‘By the Sea’

In terms of the acting, Angelina and Brad are at their best. It always amazes me that super famous celebrities can still manage to convince us that they are other people, despite the fact that we know so much about them and they are so familiar.

SPOILER ALERT: One of my favourite scenes is when they finally make love, and he gets into the bathtub with her while she is taking a bath. There is nothing sexier than a man who isn’t afraid to get a little wet. ;-)

I wonder how Brad and Angelina would feel re-watching this movie now. Although I hear that actors often don’t watch their own work, so maybe they won’t ever watch this film. Although if I was an actor, I would probably watch my films over and over.

Overall I would give this movie a 6/10, which is pretty generous. The movie definitely makes you reflect on the tumultuous nature of relationships, and reflect on your own patterns. There are moments of depth and reflection, and of course there are those beautiful views.

When we die on the inside, the outside is left wandering dangerously by the sea.

It is by the sea, that sometimes a sense of peace arrives… and at other times, all it reveals are troubled waters beneath.

Never Mine

I’ll be right there,” she said,

And I knew she

Didn’t really mean it.

But still I waited,

Anticipating that I would kick myself

For allowing myself to feel that

necessary but oh-so-dirty

four Letter word:

H O P E.

I was a sucker for the game,

But why did I feel

That with her,

I was always winning?

That there was always

A little more left

To say,

That even when we kissed,

She was still just a millimeter

Away.

 

Homemade Veggie Lentil Soup

Living at home with my parents over the past year, I’ve been cooking a lot of new things and have definitely broadened my cooking skills. My latest success was homemade veggie lentil soup (well mostly it was a success – both my Mom and Dad had to add some extra salt to their bowls – they love their salt!). I tend to stay away from soup recipes that require veggie broth — I think it’s much better to make everything from scratch. I like this recipe because it’s dead simple and doesn’t require a lot of steps.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup green lentils
  • 1 medium-sized onion
  • 2 carrots, 2 celery stalks, 2 small potatoes
  • 2 crushed tomatoes
  • 3 cloves minced garlic
  • 7-8 cups water
  • cilantro
  • turmeric, fresh green chillies, red chilli powder/flakes
  • lemon
  • salt and pepper
  • olive oil

Directions:

  1. Chop all the veggies, garlic, and cilantro. Crush the tomatoes in a blender.
  2. In a big pot, mix water, onion, carrots, celery, garlic, and olive oil. Bring to a boil.
  3. Add potatoes, lentils, and crushed tomatoes after a few minutes.
  4. Simmer for about 25 minutes.
  5. Season to taste with fresh cilantro, turmeric, chillies, salt, pepper, and lemon. Lemon gives it a nice zesty flavour!
  6. Serve with a side dish (fish or chicken), or for a light lunch, with a baguette or crackers & cheese. Will serve up to four people (for a couple days LOL!).
  7. Enjoy!!
IMG_8514
Homemade Veggie Lentil Soup

Gemini

“I’ve only ever fallen in love with geminis” he once told me.
I flashed my eyes at him. He had my attention.
Ummmm what is that supposed to mean, I wondered. What was he
trying to tell me? Did that mean we were destined to be
together, that I was the next gemini on the list.
Did that mean that the stars had already decided long
ago, or was it all just a tease,
Meant to lead me astray.
He shook his head in disbelief as he looked at me.
He almost couldn’t believe it himself.
You know, and you’re all so similar.
Love to travel, Athletic (Reeeeally? Me?),
Compassionate,
You want to change the world,
Funny,
Loyal,
Beautiful….
Well maybe he didn’t say that last one,
I just wished it.
Did that make me just like the others?
Just another gemini?
or were all the others
just a dry run
For me.

A Walk To Remember

It was a gorgeous day today, sunny and only -3 degrees! (balmy for January in Ottawa). In the afternoon, my Mom and brother went shopping, my Dad took a nap, and I decided to take a long walk. Well initially I thought it would be a short one, but I ended up walking and exploring for over an hour and a half.

I walked through trails and along roads, to the Beaverbrook plaza, through puddles, and across a little bridge over a stream. I saw many people along the way – a woman out for a walk with her young daughter, a couple taking pictures of the sky, and a girl walking her dog.

At Beaverbrook plaza, I saw that CHEO Autism Services is opening soon. It’s so great that the plaza has become a hub for community services – there is the Lotus Centre which offers music therapy for special needs children, Main Street Community Services, and now CHEO Autism as well. It’s amazing that there are so many resources available for special needs kids and low-income families, and I can only imagine the synergies that will be created between these three organizations.

I walked over to Kumon, hoping to run into my friend Sanjit who runs the centre, but it was closed for the day. I guess the kids get a well-deserved break on Saturdays!

Eventually my legs started to tire and I walked home, snapping photos and selfies along the way. Here are a few:


When I got home, my Dad was in his PJs making tea. I went to my room and lay down on my bed to relax – just as I was getting sleepy, the doorbell rang (my Mom and brother were home), and I heard “Mitttaaaaaa….. I need you in the kitchen!”. Then the real fun began. ;-)