In theatres this Friday from director David Frankel and Warner Bros. Pictures is a story of finding life again surrounded by COLLATERAL BEAUTY.
Howard (Will Smith) is part of a successful advertising agency along with friends Whit (Edward Norton), Claire (Kate Winslet) and Simon (Michael Pena). Three years later Howard is in a very dark place dealing with the death of his six year old daughter.
This affects the business and Whit decides it is in the company’s best interest to find a way to remove Howard from any dealings. Hiring a private detective they learn that Howard wrote a letter to Love, Time and Death.
Trying one more way to reach their friend, Whit meets actors Amy (Keira Knightley), Brigitte (Helen Mirren) and Raffi (Jacob Latimore). Hiring each of them to be Love, Time and Death they meet Howard sending him into a kind of shock!
Hearing Howard’s story from his friends it becomes clear that he isn’t the only person who needs a shaking up in his life. Whit is having daughter issues, Claire is having Mommy issues and Simon is having truth issues which means Howard isn’t the only person juggling life.
Then again everyone needs a reality check every once in a while!
Smith as Howard turns in another performance as a sullen man who is looking for a sign that life is worth living. In writing down his feelings towards the three things he holds dear, Howard lives in his silent world watching everything go by – including his dominos. This all being said, there is nothing truly original about this character because we’ve all seen Smith do this before.
Norton as Whit is a man who is dealing with a daughter that openly shares her anger with a dad who has let her down. Hiding behind business is a good way for Whit to act like nothing is happening. I enjoy performances where Norton has breakthrough moments because it shows completely in every blink of his eye.
Winslet as Claire is so busy taking care of everyone else she forgets about herself. Being the caregiver of her friends has left her little time to be the one thing she wants the most. Winslet’s character is strong with moments of such caring.
Pena as Simon wants to take care of his family but for reasons he has kept hidden for himself. He doesn’t want to hurt his friend Howard and isn’t all for the plan but doesn’t know any other way to reach him. Pena is such a fine actor and takes on roles with such depth and even when humor is thrown in he brings that as well.
Mirren as Brigitte is colorful, loving, and is a character all unto herself. I love everything Mirren does because she brings something different to each role and just when I think she’s covered it all – out comes more uniqueness. Yes, I’m a fan!
Harris as Madeleine runs grief meetings to help parents deal with the deaths of their children. She is a source of calm and strength as Howard tries to find a way to become part of it all.
Knightley as Amy has a difficult time being Love and making Howard understand that the emotion he is running from is in everything. This actress can tear up at the drop of a hat. Latimore as Raffi gives a whole new meaning to Time. He is funny, clever and delivers his intensity with fire in his eyes.
Other cast include Kylie Rogers as Allison, Alyssa Cheatham as Olivia and Ann Dowd as Sally Price.
TUBS OF POPCORN: I give COLLATERAL BEAUTY three tubs of popcorn out of five. The film has themes of Time, Love and Death which are the things Howard lives by except when his life has tragedy. The premise of the film is endearing but again I feel like I have seen this story before.
Hoping for more than a predictable story with a predictable ending, the lessons the film are important nonetheless. Tragedy happens to us all but it is how we deal with the sadness in the long term that can either bring us together or tear life apart.
In the end – we are all connected.