Over the past few weeks we keep seeing previews for an intriguing new movie Collateral Beauty and then found out we were invited to an early screening. It looks like a holiday movie with an emotional storyline and the cast seemed pretty awesome. After now seeing the film it has to be said that the the previews gives you a different impression of how the movie will play out and there were some interesting twists, read more below...
Official film synopsis:
When a successful New York advertising executive suffers a great tragedy he retreats from life. While his concerned friends try desperately to reconnect with him, he seeks answers from the universe by writing letters to Love, Time and Death. But it’s not until his notes bring unexpected personal responses that he begins to understand how these constants interlock in a life fully lived, and how even the deepest loss can reveal moments of meaning and beauty.
From Oscar-winning director David Frankel, the thought-provoking drama “Collateral Beauty” features an all-star cast, including Will Smith (“Suicide Squad,” “Concussion”), Edward Norton (“Birdman or [The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance]”), Keira Knightley (“The Imitation Game”), Michael Peña (“The Martian”), Naomie Harris (“Spectre”), Jacob Latimore (“The Maze Runner”), with Oscar winners Kate Winslet (“The Reader,” “Steve Jobs”) and Helen Mirren (“The Queen,” “Trumbo”).
I really expected this movie to play out like a modern Christmas Carol. A fantasy film similar to how Scrooge was visited by ghosts of Christmas past, present and future. However Collateral Beauty is more authentic with real people and situations, no time traveling here. The cast was all well suited to their roles and while you would assume the film would center around Howard (Smith) and his grief over the death of his daughter, it actually did cover other characters and scenarios in their lives as well. It was interesting to have this set during the holidays with cheery music while also learning about the characters real life pain, emotions and situations people can sympathize with. I don't want to give too much away as I enjoyed some of the twists I wasn't expecting from the preview. But the main story is that Howard has suffered a tragic loss of his daughter and is still struggling two years later. His co-business owners/friends can't get through to him as he is lost in despair, and really about to lose everything else in his life as well. He won't speak to anyone but writes letters to Death, Time and Love. When he is visited by these entities he starts to come out of his emotional coma and deal with his feelings.
The film had me tear up at points and some of the scenes make you relate to scenarios and make you feel grateful for the people in your life. The one thing I thought was a little clunky was how the film tried to explain the meaning of "Collateral Beauty". It is the title of the film and should have been a little more impactful. Overall there were some tear jerker moments, some humor, and a little holiday magic. I don't think this film is necessarily an award winner but I do think it's a nice holiday film that tries to connect you with the people in your life and feel the love.
Most reviews I'm seeing are killing this movie. I am going to go against them and state that I rather enjoyed Collateral Beauty. Sure, the premise was a stretch and the story may have strayed a bit but the film itself included an original premise and flowed well. I never found myself getting bored with it nor did it feel rushed by skipping over important plot details.
Collateral Beauty did spend a lot of time in a saddening type of atmosphere but not too over the top and never to the point of a tear jerker. However, you do have to stick with the movie until the very end as there are some scenarios and scenes during the film that don’t quite make sense until the last 15 minutes.
Overall, I enjoyed this movie. It was a bit weepy at times (it seemed Will Smith spent the entire movie in tears or on the verge) but it was well done and the cast did a great job. They also did a good job of sprinkling just enough humor to lighten the mood.
This movie is best for: seeing during the holiday break when you have some downtime. You will feel all the feels and appreciate the people you love around you. Not worth buying to own and watching every Christmas, but good to see this year.
Official movie site: http://collateralbeauty-movie.com