Tony's Take


collateral-beauty-posterLove. Time. Death.

“Love, Time, and Death are the three things that connect all of us”.  “Collateral Beauty” follows the life of an advertising business owner named Howard, as he is celebrating the biggest year in the company’s existence.  Alongside his partner Whit and close friends Claire and Simon, life could not be better.  Move forward three years.  Howard has suffered the death of his young daughter.  He is depressed, struggling with himself emotionally; letting the business spiral-down out of control until near-bankruptcy.  Needing to find a solution, his friends devise a plan to prove mental-instability so they can save the company and, ultimately, their friend and themselves.  While under private investigation, it is seen that Howard has sent a letter to Love, Time, and Death.  To exploit him, Whit, Claire, and Simon hire paid actors to embody each of the three (Love, Time, and Death) and have them respond to the message he mailed.  In an oddly-therapeutic way, this allows Howard to confront his feelings head-on, with the hopes of not just saving the company, but something much greater.

Will Smith stars as Howard, the depressed, once happy business owner whose life has spiraled out of control.  Smith is superb in the film, bringing pure emotion that is sure to bring a tear to your eye.  After his unfortunate exclusion last year, I fully expect Will Smith to receive a nomination for his work here; it is very well-deserved.  Edward Norton plays Whit, Howard’s best friend and a co-owner of the business.  Kate Winslet is Claire, their second in-command in the company.  Michael Peña plays Simon, another close co-worker of theirs who desperately wants to save the company.  Helen Mirren plays the lead actor of the troupe, Brigitte; embodying the role of “Death”.  Keira Knightley plays Amy, the beautiful young actress who embodies the role of “Love”.  Jacob Latimore plays Raffi, the actor who embodies the role of “Time”.  Naomie Harris plays a young woman who holds a support group for parents who have lost a child, Madeleine.  Ann Dowd plays the hired private investigator, Sally Price.  Kylie Rogers plays Whit’s estranged daughter, Allison.

“Collateral Beauty” follows multiple storylines that form an interconnected web; one that’s beautiful and full of raw emotion, proving that we truly are all connected.  The film excels largely due to its performances.  Smith is excellent in the film and, though it may share some similar characteristics to past characters, he makes Howard feel real.  Norton, Winslet, Peña, Mirren, Knightley, Latimore, and Harris also do a tremendous job bringing the film to “life”, they truly are a great ensemble!  As referenced in the marketing, “Collateral Beauty” is a heavy and emotional film.  Some of the events in the film are things people experience every day and are going-through right now, making it all that much more emotional and hard to watch for certain audience members.  However, there are a mixture of both sad and happy tears, as some of the most unimaginable events occur and secrets uncovered throughout the film.  OneRepublic’s ballad “Let’s Hurt Tonight” is re-done for the film’s end credits and it fits the tone of the film perfectly, allowing you to reflect on the film as you stare at the screen.  The story relies heavily on the use of symbolism, which is also referenced with a character trait of Howard’s, building dominoes.  It symbolizes not only Howard’s psyche, but also the events of Howard’s life.  What makes “Collateral Beauty” so powerful and mesmerizing is how well the story unfolds.  As Howard is the target of the actors, we quickly learn that each of them play a very important role in Whit, Claire, and Simon’s lives as-well.  The best way to enjoy and experience “Collateral Beauty” is knowing as little as possible.  “Collateral Beauty” has a run time of 97 minutes, allowing the film to flow from scene-to-scene without overstaying its welcome.  “Collateral Beauty” follows this year’s theme of sadness, but it does so in the most uplifting and therapeutic way possible!

“Collateral Beauty” follows the tragic story of a man who is trying to put his life back together after the death of his child.  The film features a great ensemble performance, plenty of emotion, and a beautiful story.  If you are looking to experience human emotion this weekend, go see “Collateral Beauty”!!

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COLLATERAL BEAUTY is rated PG-13 for thematic elements and brief strong language, in theaters DECEMBER 16TH!



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