Collateral Beauty (2016) Review

Verdict: Heart-rending

Good acting and great storytelling.


Howard (Will Smith) has become a zombie after the lost of his child’s life. Everyday he still goes to work, but spends his time building domino structures. His co-workers, Whit (Edward Norton), Claire (Kate Winslet), and Simon (Michael Pena) are worried for him, and feel at a lost as to what to do. They hire PI, Sally Price (Ann Dowd) to keep an eye on him. However, Howard is in for a surprise when the letters he sends to abstractions, Love (Keira Knightley), Time (Jacob Latimore), and Death (Helen Mirren), visit him in person. Directed by David Frankel.

There is more to this film than meets the eye, and while I was thoroughly thrown off guard by its many intricacies, and by the ending, the emotional connection fell short for me. It might just be me, as I don’t show my emotions much, and am not easily affected by others. But the chemistry between the characters are OK at best, not great. My friend on the other hand, cried about three times while watching this; I think both of us are on opposite sides of the spectrum.

The acting is pretty great, as Smith portrays the figure of a grieving father in pain incredibly well. The emotions he displays, and the hurt you can see in his eyes, is remarkable. Other supporting actors do their part well too, though not as strong emotions emit from them. At first, Knightley didn’t stand out to me and I was a little disappointed by her acting, but when she had that final confrontation with Howard, that was an amazing scene.

It might have been all the cuts in the film which detracted from the emotional climb for me, as there are many characters, and the movie cuts here and there. Not so drastically that it is disruptive, but enough so that there isn’t much emotional climax. At least for me anyway.

Having said that, I did enjoy how the movie seems to be straightforward and almost cliche like, but turns out to be something different. So, I applaud the way in which it has been put together, through the directing and storytelling.

Dealing with such a vulnerable and tragic topic, the movie explores the depth of human emotions, and how the lives of those around are affected. Overall, it is  a pretty great drama to watch.

To sum-up:
PROS: Acting, storytelling, concept
CONS: Lack of connection 

 I give this film a 7/10.

Have you seen Collateral Beauty? Rate it out of 5 stars above, or leave a comment below!


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