Millions of women know the pain that is trying to save a marriage when it’s dying.
For Angelina Jolie, her attempts involved making a movie with the man she loved; Brad Pitt, her husband.
“We had met working together and we worked together well,” the 42-year-old actress, producer, and philanthropist told The Hollywood Reporter’s podcast, Awards Chatter yesterday. “I wanted us to do some serious work together. I thought it would be a good way for us to communicate.”
She wrote, directed and starred in By The Sea (2015) alongside Pitt. It’s a relationship drama, written – Jolie said at the time – to reflect all the ways a person can grieve.
“Things happen for different reasons,” she told Awards Chatter. “Why did I write that exact piece? Why did we feel that way when we made it? I’m not sure.”
LISTEN: The Mamamia Out Loud team, on how to speak to your friend who’s going through a divorce. Post continues after.
In a ‘featurette‘ of the film, released by Universal Studios in 2015, Jolie said the idea stemmed from losing her mother. Now perhaps, she realises it was something more.
“In some ways it was [good for communication] and in some ways we learned some things. But there was a heaviness that carried on and it wasn’t because of the film.”
It’s a beautifully heartbreaking film made all the more potent because of it’s real-life ending. The torment between Jolie and Pitt’s characters is excruciating, and their pain seeps through the screen.
Jolie and Pitt announced their separation last September. They were together for more than a decade and married for two years. They have six children.
“A piece of art can be something that’s healing or something that’s difficult,” she said. “I’m glad we did that film because we did explore something together. Whatever it was, maybe it didn’t solve certain things, but we did communicate something that needed to be communicated to each other.”
Jolie also reminded listeners that there are many elements that make up a marriage. And enduring life in all its complexities alongside another person can, at times, be simply too much.
"Over the span of that decade, I did lose my mother. I did have my mastectomy. I did then have an ovarian cancer scare and that surgery as well."
For the millions of women who know the pain that is trying to save a marriage, Jolie's work of art - alongside her honesty - is bound to offer a sense of recognition: No one, really, has any idea what might happen in the end.