Collateral Beauty review by Bobby Blakey
Will Smith is one of those actors that used to constantly dominate the box office, but over the last few years his projects have been hit and miss with the biggest being Suicide Squad. His latest, Collateral Beauty takes him back to the world of drama once again with a great supporting cast including Edward Norton, Kate Winslet, Michael Pena, Helen Mirren, Naomie Harris, Keira Knightly, and Jacob Latimore, but could it offer up the hope and redemption it promises or will it just end up being collateral damage of a failed attempt?
Collateral Beauty follows a successful New York advertising executive who suffers a great tragedy and 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. The trailers for this film lead you to believe you know the direction of this film, but seeing it offers up something quite different than you might expect. This is both a good and bad and could easily put some off on the overall finished product. When the story reveals early on the direction it is actually headed I was put off right away feeling a bit betrayed with false advertising, but as it progresses it ended up heading in a pretty interesting albeit predicable way. It is not hard to immediately see where they are going with the bulk of the film, but they do some clever things with the story to lead you down a path you think you know and twist it once again.
The cast are fine with Smith really getting the time to shine and showcase some deep emotion throughout with very little dialogue. As someone who has lost a child, I found myself moved more than I expected with moments that understood how he was feeling and experienced firsthand what he was saying. I’m not sure how that plays out with people who have never thankfully had to go through that, but can see how it might fall flat and misused. The rest are fine, but some of their performances and it could be the script felt so laid out they were harder to buy into. This doesn’t mean they were bad, they just weren’t what you might expect from this caliber of actors.
This is a good film that never fully pulls the heart strings it really wants to due to its predictability and twists that while work keep you from every really being able to invest fully. I can see how it might not work for some, but for me it works for what they were trying to do and enjoyed the end direction it took to wrap it up which was easily the best twist of the whole film.
In addition to the film this release also includes the featurette “A Modern Fable: Discovering Collateral Beauty” that takes you further behind the cast and crew as they were inspired to take a look at their own lives in a new light from this film. Grab your copy of Collateral Beauty on Blu-ray, DVD and Digital HD available now from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment.