Writer: Allan Loeb (Screenplay)
Starring: Will Smith, Edward Norton, Kate Winslet, Michael Pena, Helen Mirren, Naomie Harris, Keira Knightley, Jacob Latimore
Plot: 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.
Tagline – Connect to the beauty of life.
Runtime: 1 Hour 37 Minutes
There may be spoilers in the rest of the review
Verdict: Overly Dramatic Study of Grief
Story: Collateral Beauty starts as Howard’ (Smith) business is flying, but tragedy hits his life, when his daughter dies. 2 years later, Whit (Norton), Claire (Winslet) and Simon (Pena) the partners in the business are facing difficult decision as Howard still can’t make decisions and won’t make decisions and his business is suffering.
To try to help Howard, the three partners hiring three actors Brigitte (Mirren), Amy (Knightley) and Raffi (Latimore) to visit Howard to answer the letters her has written to ‘Love’ ‘Death’ and ‘Time’ each while dealing with their own problems. Can this idea fix the problems in Howard’s life to help him move on and accept the truth.
Thoughts on Collateral Beauty
Characters – Howard is a successful businessman, he is on top of the world, until his daughter dies. Now he spends his time at work building domino structures avoiding human contact and writing letters to Love, Death and Time, hoping for answers to help him deal with his grief. Whit is one of the business partners with Will, though he gave up part of his share in the couple because of his own mistakes in love, as he must pay off his ex-wife. Claire is another member of the business that int fully behind the idea, though we rarely learn anything else about her. Simon is the final member of the three that hire the actors, he does have his own questions to ask about life. Brigitte, Amy and Raffi are the actors that take the job of playing Love, Death and Time, each shows the character that Howard must talk to, to understand the grief he is going through. Madeline runs a support group for parents that have lost children, much like herself, she does try to get through to Howard in a simpler way compared to the friends.
Performances – This is a film that is hard to criticise the performances from any of the actors, the questions come from the amount of screen time certain actors are given. Will Smith gives up his normal charismatic performance to make us believe us that a man that would be filled with confidence could feel after losing everything. Edward Norton, Kate Winslet and Michael Pena show the sacrifices people would have made in business. Helen Mirren does look like she is enjoying her role the most, while Keira Knightley and Jacob Latimore show they are great at rounding off this cast. Naomie Harris’ performance can’t be overlook either with the impact in the final scene.
Story – The story here shows us how one man has struggled with the grief of losing his daughter with his business partners needing to find a way to push him out of the hole he has created. This does pose the question of just what is time, love and death mean when you lose a loved one, it may well have too many side arcs because each of the partners has a story that need to be addressed which don’t get enough time to make the impact needed, compared to the story that Howard is going through. The way grief is shown in this film is strong because people would create barriers in life which would only push people away in the time you most need someone around you.
Romance – While romance might be the wrong genre for most of the film, it does show us how love can be ruined when a tragedy strikes.
Settings – The film is set in New York which is used very well because it shows us just how many different people you could run into along your day.
Final Thoughts – This is an overly dramatic story of grief which wants to take focus on the idea that people have closed off from life.
Overall: Grief shown strongly.