When a successful New York advertising executive (Will Smith) experiences a deep personal tragedy and retreats from life entirely, his colleagues devise a drastic plan to force him to confront his grief in a surprising and profoundly human way.
What We Thought:
I was going to write that Collateral Beauty was disappointing, but I didn’t expect much in the first place. I also don’t understand the film in the slightest. I’m not sure how much is given away in trailers, but I’m going to try to be as spoiler free as possible. Key word try.
Will Smith has a devastating loss and spirals into a depression that ruins his life, his marriage and his company. I totally understand that. His friends (Ed Norton, Kate Winslet, Michael Pena) who also work with him at the company want to help him get better or show that he isn’t mentally there so they can sell the company off because it’s going down the drain. I’m still understanding that.
Keira Knightley is at a casting call and impresses Ed Norton so much he follows her to a theater where she is rehearsing with Helen Mirren and Jacob Latimore. Norton comes up with a plan to hire these actors to get the proof that Will Smith’s character is losing it and can’t handle the company anymore. Sounds straight forward enough and you’re probably not sure why I didn’t get the movie.
Well here’s where it gets complicated and I’ll try not to spoil it. The three actors might be more than what they seem. They do their job getting evidence of his mental state well enough, but they each latch on to one of the coworkers. Smith’s character writes letters to Time, Death and Love, 3 abstract themes and each actor portrays one of them. But they also portray them to Norton, Winslet and Pena, each of who is dealing with their own issues with love, time and death.
That’s where the movie lost me. If the 3 actors are more than just actors, why did they need to be hired in the first place? If they are there the entire time doesn’t that void out most of what happens in the beginning? Why did they take the money as actors? Ugh.
There’s also a big “twist” at the end with Smith’s character and a supporting character, but if you don’t see that coming, shame on you. Collateral Beauty wants to make you emotional, but you can’t tug on my heartstrings because I don’t have any. People in the audience were crying while I sat there annoyed and pissed off at the entire development. I walked out with more questions than answers and the film did nothing for me.
Cast & Crew:
- Will Smith
- Ed Norton
- Kate Winslet
- Michael Pena
- Helen Mirren
- Keira Knightley