Collateral Beauty (2016)

This year I'm seriously committing to watching all those movies that have been on my watchlist since the dawn of times because I always put them off. Collateral Beauty is one of them and since it was on TV some nights ago, I  finally watched it. 

The film mostly focuses on Howard Inlet (Will Smith), a successful advertising executive who has completely lost it after the death of his daughter. Building domino chains and writing letters to Love, Time, and Death, is all he does, and he's driving his company on the verge of bankruptcy. His three friends and business partners, Whit Yardsham (Edward Norton), Claire Wilson (Kate Winslet), and Simon Scott (Michael Peña), fear for the future of the company so, in order to save/sell it, they hire three actors, Amy (Keira Knightley), Raffi (Jacob Latimore), and Brigitte (Helen Mirren), to play Love, Time, and Death respectively, and convince him that nobody else can see them so to prove he's mentally unstable. 

It's a story with a lot of potential, unfortunately it was poorly executed —not only the entire plot is revealed within the first 15-20 minutes, but after a while it just stops going anywhere and it becomes just a dull sequence of events that lead to a first twist that was obvious from the character's first appearance and a less obvious second twist at the end that still fail to wow you. It feels like Collateral Beauty's wants to be a poignant, emotional story about loss and pain but also love and hope, but it just comes off as bland and cold. I didn't lose my interest but still, I wasn't compelled by it. 

The characters aren't much better than that as they are, just like the story, bland. We don't care about any of them and the ending is a relief only because it means the movie is over. Despite his interactions with Love, Time, and Death, Howard doesn't grow nor change in any way. The friends' motives are questionable at best. Furthermore, these characters are just fillers, their stories are tremendously rushed, feel forced and take away the focus from the mains storyline which ends up feeling like a subplot. 

Warner Bros. Pictures

The performances are meh. Will Smith pretty much gives the same performance he gave in The Pursuit of Happiness and Seven Pounds but this time around he didn't succeed in moving me to tears —I guess the director did the trick in the movies I just mentioned. Edward Norton was bad, and it really hurt as I'm a huge fan of his. Kate Wins finds herself stuck with one of the most generic roles ever. Helen Mirren is probably the only one trying here and as a result she gives a compelling performance as Brigitte/Death. 

Ultimately, Collateral Beauty tries to be a deep movie but it ends up being flat. There's some meaningful lines here and there, mostly delivered by Helen Mirren, but they come out of nowhere so they don't have much of an impact on us. Also, I'm not entirely sure I understood the whole concept of collateral beauty. I guess I'm too rational for this kind of movie. 


  1. I need to see this one again I think. I was really hungover the first time I watched it so my head wasn't in the right place and the twists were such a shock to me haha!

  2. It wasn't that bad for me, but, yes, it wasted so much potential.