The best thing about making movies in this day of age is that almost everyone knows they’re doing the best they can to make the right movie for the viewers to enjoy it. But you know when a movie tries so hard to be great with whatever being involved? Or when a movie tries to be smart and poetic? Well, it isn’t Collateral Beauty. What a disaster did turn out to be during the holidays. I’m baffled on how this was even made.
The story revolves around Howard (Will Smith), a very successful businessman who lost his daughter in death. He’s then now a loner as he doesn’t speak to anyone including his friends/colleagues (Edward Norton, Kate Winslet, and Michael Pena). When they become worried about him, they want to find a way to help him. Howard’s then visited the abstract concepts of Death, Time, and Love (Helen Mirren, Jacob Latimore, and Keira Knightley), to which he wrote letters to, in order to gain a hope of life in himself.
I’ll just say this, the trailers for this didn’t impress me whatsoever. Like it didn’t feel like a real movie that’s coming out. And I figured it didn’t look good at all. But it felt like something was off about what these trailers were telling. And that’s because they lied to us. The plot that was shown in them isn’t the real story in the actual movie.
Real Story: Howard is so tired of life since his daughter died that his friends/colleagues are about to get lose their job because of him. So they hired a private investigator to find out what’s going on. When they find out that he wrote letters to Death, Time, and Love, they hired three actors to pretend to play Death, Time, and Love. That way it would seem like Howard has become crazy or something. This would work to seem like they’re getting back to himself in some way perform.
Right there, that’s the main problem with Collateral Beauty. This story is very flawed and convoluted. This plot sounds so stupid when watching it fulfill. The trailers straight up lied about what it was actually about. Maybe it would’ve worked if these embodiments weren’t actors but the actual things. It wouldn’t have helped the movie, but it would at least be something kind of spiritual.
This cast the film got here is fairly good. Too bad they’re wasted in this. To be fair, almost everyone does do a good job. Smith did try his best while dealing with this trash script. Even in most of his bad movies, he does give a good performance. Everyone else from Norton, Knightley, Pena, Naomie Harris, Latimore, Winslet, and Mirren. It’s just that the characters are so manipulative to Smith it’s agonizing. Manipulative is the best word to describe both the characters and this movie in general. Who treats their friend like this? Not one. They are so unlikable for doing something like this. This is someone who’s dealing with grief. There was even a point where Knightley’s character said this is wrong and I totally agreed with her on that point.
And the way it concludes way such a misguided way to end it and became unbearable when it happens. It makes almost zero sense. Also, this was pretty boring for the most part. Really interested after what’s this is really all about.
The only positives with this are that the acting wasn’t that bad especially on Smith’s side and the score was alright at times. But it doesn’t make up for the hour and a half of nothingness. Where’s the beauty in that?
At no point is this movie a tear-jerker. It tried so hard to convey emotional moments and it failed spectacularly. It’s this year’s Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close. And combining that with Reign Over Me or Seven Pounds makes it worse. Oscar potential my ass. This isn’t even a movie that looked like it was pulling for some Oscar nominations. And it won’t!
Aside from the misleading trailers, this is badly written screenplay involving a dumb and convoluted plot and make you feel no depth for any character for what they do doesn’t tug on the heartstrings to convey realness. Leaves you feeling angry.
If you wanna watch better movies with the words “Collateral” and “Beauty” in it, watch Collateral or American Beauty.
Collateral Beauty wasted a perfectly great ensemble with a manipulative and depressing drama that isn’t uplifting at any point.