By Ethan Magee
I’ve only watched the entirety of the show Friends (1994-2004) once, and as timeless as that show manages to be, there are still instances where it felt like taking a DeLorean back in time. One particular moment, an episode with a very recognizable guest star, evoked memoires of what those who are old enough to remember would call “the break-up of the century”. The break-up between Jennifer Aniston and Brad Pitt sent shockwaves, giving all of us wake up calls that not every relationship is as perfect as it seems on the outside and how frail marriage can be.
Their former bodyguard recently spoke about their relationship, saying how happy they always were together and how basically he saw what the public thought their relationship was. Well, the reason for this seemingly amicable split has become more famous overtime than the break-up itself. Brad Pitt starred in the 2005 remake of Mr. & Mrs. Smith (1941) alongside Angelina Jolie, and the palpable chemistry the two shared on the screen was much more than acting talent. After the two of them appeared together at a premiere some time after the break-up, the truth of their affair was known and “Brangelina” was born.
As time went on, the public forgot about the fact that Pitt cheated on his wife. Aniston moved on from this as well, and the tabloids became obsessed with this new power couple. Brangelina felt like the new upper class dream. However, it’s not always a good idea to start your new relationship based on an affair. Despite their making it work for 12 years, and as their family grew steadily larger overtime, their relationship was perhaps not as steady as their public personas gave off. To me, one of the bigger signs that this was true was the film By The Sea (2015). It stars the real-life couple as a fictional husband and wife who go on a sort of therapeutic retreat to the French Oceanside in an attempt to rekindle their marriage. This movie screamed “too personal” from the get-go, and obvious conclusions were made as easily as they were with Mr. & Mrs. Smith (2005), but only on the level of low murmurs.
I don’t doubt that as soon as I mentioned By The Sea (2015), you lost me. Nobody really saw this movie, and I don’t think anyone wanted to see a movie that the Hollywood popular-kids clique made about themselves. As a result, when Brangelina called it quits, it caught everyone off guard, especially when you notice another Hollywood A-lister lock arms with Pitt while divorce proceedings continue. This time around it’s Marion Cotillard, another one of Brad Pitt’s recent leading co-stars from Robert Zemeckis’ latest film. This is perhaps the most hilariously surprising aspect of this break-up: it’s the same thing as last time. Another seemingly solid celebrity power coupling destroyed because Pitt can’t keep it in his pants.
There seems to be less sympathy for Pitt this time around in this sequel (not that there was really any in the first place). The break-up with Aniston was shocking and also dramatic when you consider people looking at select scenes from Mr. & Mrs. Smith (2005) and going “oh wow this is really hot, I’m not surprised they ended up together”. Not that this is a justifiable excuse for cheating, but people love a good star-crossed affair. The second time around it’s just boring. People aren’t looking at Pitt and Cotillard’s scenes together, sexual or otherwise (although their first sex scene together was really well done), and reacting the same way they did to Mr. & Mrs. Smith (2005). A wartime romantic drama doesn’t tantalize the same way as an erotic spy thriller.
Ultimately though, the whole thing is just disappointing for many reasons. Jolie, who has done work as a United Nations envoy and is very talented behind the camera, gets cheated on by the guy with the greasy hair from World War Z (2013). She may have had the previous affair with Pitt knowing that he was married anyways, but she definitely deserves better than a repeat offender. Tabloids suggest that she’s losing weight over all the stress of what’s been going on, and recently the separation has become a big child custody battle. I can only imagine what the six children are going through with this along with Jolie and even Pitt. Cotillard has come forward about her role as a catalyst in the Brangelina separation on The Today Show and has dismissed the whole affair as rumor and that she wishes for everything between Pitt and Jolie to go peacefully. Cotillard herself has been in a relationship since 2007 and is expecting her second child, so I suppose it would be quite jarring and shocking if she just admitted everything outright. However, the whole similarity of everything is just too much to ignore, and we’ll be keeping our eyes on Pitt and Cotillard as we might know what they know.
Brangelina (2005- 2016/17) Rating:
Actual Rating for Allied (2016):