Verdict: A stronger script could've done wonders.
The festive season has historically proven to be a great time to release “miracles” and “Christmas cheer” related movies. Not all of them work, obviously. A similar fate is met by Collateral Beauty. With a stunning star cast and an interesting premise, Collateral Beauty has managed to garner a lot of attention, despite being up against one of the most loved franchises – Star Wars. However, the “Christmas spirit” in this one is a little damp and flat.
Howard (Will Smith) is a successful executive in New York and has a great team of colleagues – Whit (Edward Norton), Simon (Michael Peña) and Claire (Kate Winslet). However, Howard is now trying to pick up the pieces of his life, after the loss of his beloved daughter. He is grieving to the point where he blocks himself from everyone; no one can get through to him. Howard finds no solace in friends and turns to the universe to get some answers. He writes letters to Love, Time, and Death. But what he doesn't anticipate is them paying him a personal visit. Turns out Love is a gorgeous young woman with a comforting English accent (Keira Knightley), Death is a gorgeous older woman (Helen Mirren) and Time is a newcomer (Jacob Latimore).
In other news, Whit, Simon and Claire are struggling with problems in their own lives. Whit has lost the respect of his daughter after he cheats on his now ex-wife, Simon is dealing with serious health issues and Claire is struggling with a dilemma of her own. Everyone is waiting for the aforementioned Christmas spirit to deliver a miracle.
While the core concept of the movie is very interesting, the script and the execution leave you a little disappointed. You expect more because of the brilliant star cast. Will Smith's bereft Howard will move you and you will feel for his character and his pain. Helen Mirren's Death will leave you awestruck. The rest of the cast is just about okay, if not subpar. Watch out for Will Smith's breakdown towards the end. If you are a fan of a little drama, you might just like it. However forced the central message of the movie may seem – in times of grave sadness, human kindness can rekindle your soul and make you witness collateral beauty – let's admit it – it is an uplifting one.
Credit must be given where due – the story of the movie is different than most “Christmas” movies. The film is crisp and tries to be earnest. It does its best to make you “feel” things. However, underplaying the emotions a little may have gotten better results. The background score of the movies is fitting and the chemistry between the characters is something you can appreciate.
Why You Should Watch This Movie:
Christmas is around the corner and the movie touches upon the festive season quite sufficiently. Will Smith's and Helen Mirren's perfomances are enough to attract everyone to the movie theatres. This one is a good one-time watch with your family for its hatke story and heartfelt performances.