Angelina Jolie’s new movie, By the Sea, hits theaters later this month, and today she’s given our friends at People a behind-the-scenes peek into the inspiration behind the film. In a short video, she explains how the movie’s backstory is rooted in a real-life experience.

By the Sea, which is written, produced and directed by Jolie (because she’s amaze on every level), takes place in a quiet seaside town in France. We haven’t seen the whole film yet, but from the looks of the trailer and this new behind-the-scenes video, it’s visually stunning. We just love the movie’s elegant, retro look. (Think Valencia filter, times a million, in the hands of an uber-talented director and cinematographer.) The movie will also be the first time we’ve seen Jolie and her real-life husband, Brad Pitt, on screen together since Mr. and Mrs. Smith in 2005. (Wow, was it really that long ago?)

Once again, Pitt and Jolie play husband and wife. She’s a former dancer, and he’s a novelist suffering from writer’s block. It also seems like they have some intense personal issues to deal with. The movie definitely has an underlying theme, and it’s one of life’s most universal experiences: grief. In the video, Angelina says, “Everybody in the film represents a different way of addressing grief. Some have yet to experience it, some are able to come to terms with it and some are overwhelmed by it.”

This is certainly something we can all relate to, as every single one us falls into one of those categories. Angelina goes on to share her personal inspiration for writing the film. Her mom. Angelina lost her mother, Marcheline Bertrand, to ovarian cancer in 2007. Losing a mom is a devastating experience for anyone, one that leaves a mark, no matter how much time has passed. It seems that Angelina is using her art to work through some of those feelings and express her thoughts and emotions surrounding her mom’s passing. “I wrote By the Sea because I wanted to explore grief,” she says. “Much of the film and my character is very much about my mother and my feelings about my mother…When the bartender speaks, and he speaks about loss, that’s how I reflect on her. That’s how I feel about her.”

The bartender in the film that she mentions is played by Niels Arestrup. In a scene in the movie, playing opposite Brad Pitt, he says, “If you really love someone, you want more for them than you want for yourself. Do you understand?” This is a sentiment that no doubt captures the very essence of maternal love. Arestrup has some feelings (which we totally agree with) about the film and the emotions Angelina is trying to explore. In the video, he says, “It’s very daring on her part, to have attempted this more experimental, even more marginal adventure in which she is undoubtedly saying something which has lingered in her head and lingered in her heart.”

Daring indeed. Showing vulnerability in such a public way would be a daunting prospect for anyone. We can only imagine how tough it must be for a celebrity of Angelina’s stature. But the best art always seems to come from a place of authenticity, from deep inside the artist creating it. And that certainly seems to be the case with By the Sea. We can’t wait to see it on November 13.

In the meantime, check out the behind-the-scenes clip below.

[Image via Universal Pictures.]