Director: R.J. Cutler; Starring Angelina Jolie, Brad Pitt, Maddox Chivan Jolie-Pitt, Pax Thien Jolie-Pitt, Zahara Marley Jolie-Pitt, Shiloh Nouvel Jolie-Pitt, Knox Léon Jolie-Pitt, Vivienne Marcheline Jolie-Pitt
As the world exploded with excitement upon the release of Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie’s wedding photos, no one could have anticipated the crack-cocaine of Brangelina voyeurism that was to come with For The Kids, a documentary giving an inside look at the couple’s wedding at Chateau Miraval, their estate in Correns, France.
Directed by R.J. Cutler, whose highbrow documentaries include The September Issue, A Perfect Candidate, and The War Room, the project was financed by Brad Pitt’s production company Plan B, with all proceeds going to charity. Within weeks of the film’s release, over $400 million was raised at the box office internationally, making it a resounding philanthropic success.
The couple meticulously selected the charities that were to benefit from this film:
Stop ALS, Save Water, Stop Online Bullying: This charity was recently formed in response to the ALS Association’s Ice Bucket Challenge, which was criticized for wasting water in the midst of a national drought and whose participants became the target of online degradation as they faced an onslaught of self-righteous Facebook articles posted daily to their newsfeeds about the Ice Bucket challenge being wasteful—articles with diagrams showing the entire state of California in red—and who were forced to live with a video of themselves wasting an entire bucket of water by dumping it on their heads. In addressing these issues, Stop ALS, Save Water, Stop Online Bullying aims to raise money for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis without the effects of water wastage and internet shaming. While the ALS Association succeeded in raising a whopping $100 million through its challenge, Brad and Angelina doubled this number with their donation of $200 million, giving an additional $50 million for psychological counseling of emotionally unstable Ice Bucket participants—many of whom now face anxiety with respect to posting new things on social media—and a groundbreaking and proprietary water-creation technology which replaced all of the water that was lost as a result of the challenge.
Marcheline Bertrand Ovarian Cancer Foundation: Named after Angelina’s late mother who lost her battle to ovarian cancer at the age of fifty-six, the Marcheline Bertrand Ovarian Cancer Foundation has received the remaining $150 million investment to prevent the loss of life to ovarian cancer ever again. It plans to do so through a complex genetic remapping of the human race that will eliminate the disease entirely—a genome technology that is about three-hundred years ahead of our time, which Brad and Angelina have gained access to.
After the documentary elaborates on the deservedness and impact of these charities, we are treated to a much-anticipated insider look at the Brangelina wedding. In an interview with the couple, we learn that the two were always hesitant to marry because they believe: 1) straight couples should not have the right to marry if gay couples aren’t given the same right; 2) the institution of marriage is antithetical to true love; and 3) the polar ice caps are rapidly melting and somewhere out there is a skinny polar bear looking for a piece of ice to climb onto.
Ultimately the two made this decision for their six children, who increasingly voiced their desire to see their parents married. Thus, the aptly titled documentary catalogues how the six children were involved in absolutely every step of the wedding.
For the cake, all six children (ranging in ages six to thirteen) attempted to make a three-tiered cake without supervision. The result was a pile of raw eggs, chocolate bars, and plastic toys. In one moment, Brad feeds Angelina the “cake,” by zooming an egg-covered toy truck toward her mouth and she licks it in a way that’s both seductive and maternal, and all of the children cheer.
The photography was also done by the children, namely by Pax Thien, whose recent interest in photography has led the couple to turn one of the seventy-three rooms in their chateau into an ongoing photo exhibit of his work. Pax’s aesthetic vision is all about close-ups—to the point where the subject is indiscernible—a vision that Brad Pitt commends in its ability to capture the notion that all matter is fundamentally the same. The wedding photos are a series of close-ups: The fibers of the wedding dress, the pores on Angelina’s face, and a blurred image attempting to capture the molecular composition of the diamond ring. Pax’s interest in photography came about after an introduction to family friend, Annie Leibovitz, who encouraged him to pursue his hobby. However, Brad and Angelina will not be releasing Pax’s photographs to magazines and giving the proceeds to charity as they believe that doing so would falsely inflate his ego and make him a less than perfect human.
Each of the wedding guests also received a very special gift bag. One particularly unique item was the “bottle of children’s laughter,” which was composed quite impressively. The couple hired a sound specialist to capture the melodious laughter of all six children in an airtight bottle, which when opened would release a few seconds of that most cherished and soul-warming sound. Other items included handicrafts by the children, guidebooks to the French countryside, and select pages torn out of the Dalai Lama’s personal journal—a book that contains insights never before released to the universe, which the Dalai Lama was expressly holding onto for the purpose of this gift bag.
Many filmgoers reportedly experienced depression after watching this film. The depression appears to fall into two categories: Those who feel utterly worthless as human beings, and those diehard Brangelina fans who are on the worst comedown of their lives.
In the time it took to write this article, the film has grossed an additional $75 million, which the couple will be using to fund a new organization aimed at providing counseling services to the unforeseen emotional fallout of the film. It was actually the kids idea to come up with this organization, which why it will also be named, For the Kids.
Shirin Najafi is a writer living in Los Angeles. She graduated from Columbia University with a degree in economics and worked in investment banking before deciding to quit and become a writer. She performs the voice of a cat in some videos (www.magicalstew.com) and is currently working on her first novel.