I don’t know if By The Sea is supposed to be happening in the early, mid or late ’70s, but that hotel looks a little too ostentatious for the Nixon or Carter years. Things were plainer back then, especially in small seaside villages in southern France. On top of which I’m feeling a lethargic vibe. An air of resignation. I take it Brad and Angie’s characters aren’t into, like, opening up. I would love it if they would do a Who’s Afraid of Virginia Wolff meets My Dinner With Andre or some kind of challenge to that third-act hotel room scene in Richard Linklater‘s Before Midnight, but I guess not. If you’re doing a lot of smoking and weeping alone and telling your partner to whack you harder and so on, things are pretty well poisoned. “Why can’t we talk it over? Always seems to me, sorry seems to be the hardest word.”