Now this was a film I was super excited about way back when the first set pictures were released with Will Smith and Helen Mirren, I was just giddy and intrigued to see another dramatic film with Smith and the incredible cast… However, I saw the trailer, and I wasn’t impressed, in fact I was underwhelmed. And then, when I found out the actual premise of the film online and how it was different from what the trailers was selling you, I was quite annoyed. So I felt like I was going to skip the film after the mixed reception I saw from the US release, but I thought “Screw it, let’s give it a shot.”
The plot can be summed up as the following: “Retreating from life after a tragedy, a man questions the universe by writing to Love, Time and Death. Receiving unexpected answers, he begins to see how these things interlock and how even loss can reveal moments of meaning and beauty.” Now I heard this film was either underwhelming or just downright bad (especially from what I’ve recently read online), so I expected the worst, but I walked out of the film liking it more than I expected. I feel like this film had some interesting elements with the story and characters, but the execution was messy and questionable. Mourning the death of a loved one is something we all deal with in different ways, some harder than others, and I felt for Howard played by Will Smith, and could understand the difficult situation that he put his co-workers/friends in. However what Whit (Edward Norton), Claire (Kate Winslet) and Simon (Michael Peña) do in this film to their supposed friend is some of the most crafty and terrible things you could do to someone who is grieving. I would have liked more a focus on Howard and less on his coworkers lives because I feel like they took the focus away from Howard which was the most interesting part of the film. At several points I questioned the moral and ethical integrity of the people in this film, and while the film tries to present both sides of the argument for why certain plot elements transpire in the way that they do, and some people do present some logic as to how and why what these people are doing to Howard is wrong, its like the characters just give in and you as the audience still don’t buy into it because at the end of the day what Howard and his coworkers did was still wrong. I feel like the performances from the cast ranged from good to questionable, I liked Kate Winslet as Claire and Michael Peña as Simon I tought was good with the dramatic material, Edward Norton had some bad material to work with as Whit, while Keira Knightley as Aimee/”Love”, Jacob Latimore as Raffi/”Time” and Helen Mirren as Brigitte/”Death” did fare better in their roles though Knightley had some questionable scenes too. The best material comes from Will Smith as Howard, Smith delivers a performance that mainly relies on his physicality, facial expressions and little dialogue, but he was really good and his dramatic chops were put to good use in my opinion. And finally Naomie Harris as Madeleine was also quite good, I predicted how she would factor in the film early on, but she was one of the better actors in this film and her scenes were quite engaging. In conclusion Collateral Beauty was not the train wreck I expected and there were small moments of drama and emotional material that worked for me, but is a film that was predictable, had too many convenient moments and feels morally and ethically wrong with a conclusion that doesn’t feel entirely earned, but I didn’t hate the film so it wasn’t a complete waste of time.
So have you seen Collateral Beauty and if so what do you think of it? Be sure to leave your thoughts on the comments below and I’ll see ya on the next review, laters! 😀