Thursday, September 22, 2016

Farewell, Brangelina – and the dream that love can last

Farewell, Brangelina – and the dream that love can last

The Brad Pitt-Angelina Jolie union appeared perfect: long-term, fruitful, opposites attracting. Now it’s clear nothing can be trusted

Pack it in, humanity. Love just died.
Angelina Jolie has filed for divorce from Brad Pitt. I know. I am pulling on my oversized cardigan, letting its gigantic cuffs cover the tops of my hands, and holding a gigantic cup of herbal tea. Not drinking it. I hate the stuff.
Perhaps later I will get in the tub, listen to some Sarah McLachlan and place a glass of red wine on its edge, remembering the Jolie-Pitts’ good times, my eyes brimming. It seemed to the naïve among us, the romantics, that Brangelina were a rare glimmer of right in a world of so much wrong. Who knows how or why the whole enterprise worked? It just did. Until, sniff, it didn’t.

I remember a photo from the set of Mr and Mrs Smith, Brad from the back, all jaunty with one of wee Maddox’s bottles in his back pocket. Just friends, they were. Brad was just lending a hand. Angelina was a single mom, having survived marriages to one of her costars in an early-90s computer film called Hackers and the tan alligator bag Billy Bob Thornton, with whom she famously engaged in knifeplay and the wearing of vials of each others’ blood.
When Angelina and Brad collided, Brad was still married to Jennifer Aniston, with whom he shared a similar kind of California basicness. They got their hair highlighted. I can picture them eating tacos and smoking weed. Brad had been engaged before to Gwyneth Paltrow, who was a sort of the Taylor Swift of acting in the 90s, all uptight and no fun while constantly pretending to have fun. She is now some kind of no-fun lifestyle person.
Angie must have been the dark, exotic, magic-scented vampire lady of Brad’s dreams: not a blonde and possessed, one assumes, of some special tricks and an enticing independence. She had an Oscar, too, and was considered “Hollywood royalty”.

To Angie, Brad represented wholesomeness, being that he was from a place called “Missouri”, not the Hollywood where her father, Oscar-winning 1970s powerhouse actor Jon Voight, wasn’t around, leaving her by-all-accounts lovely mother, Marcheline Bertrand, to raise her and her brother alone. Brad wasn’t like that. Brad was redolent of family dinners and raking leaves. He has a brother named Doug.

We all know what happened after Brad and Ang became an item: children, lots of children. Maddox was followed by Zahara, followed by Shiloh, Pax and finally, the twins Knox and Vivienne. The Jolie-Pitts and their children trooped through airports. Visited foreign lands. Wore clothes well. Did good deeds.
In the annals of celebrity lifestyles, they won. Along with parenting and acting, Angelina also maintained a busy career as a human rights activist. Brad kept mumbling his way through movies. They roamed the earth, a crowd of attractive people with fun names, who didn’t need things like boring “homes” and “schools” except for sometimes when they seemed to touch down for a while in New York or LA and enroll the kids in an American lycée. Their love was no fauxmance: whatever had happened with Brad and Jennifer, the proof was in the pudding of Brad and Angelina’s fruitful and long-term union.
Maybe the reason that they lasted so long is that she couldn’t understand a word he said? I lit-trally can’t watch a Brad Pitt movie sans subtitles. What did they have in common, anyway? Brad’s a boring dude who wears hats and has somehow been handed the lifetime “cool” pass. Angelina is a velvety, enchanted creature of beauty, compassion and an innate ability to look seriously great in aviators. Angelina survived the death of her mother from ovarian cancer and, when she found that she also carried the “breast cancer gene”, had prophylactic surgeries. She was accused of having done it to “get a new pair of boobs”. Yeah, no. She did it to stay alive. She did it so her kids would have a mother.
There is the inevitable gossip about the reason Angelina called her lawyer. Who knows? It’s sad no matter what happened. The Jolie-Pitts bore the flag of love and family and commitment for humanity for all of us.
What do we do now?

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