Collateral Beauty – Movie Review

As you can imagine, being a movie reviewer (even an amateur one) will cause many a conversation to end up on the topic of movies and from those conversations, I usually end up with a movie or two to add to my ever growing “watch-list”.  One of the movies that I recently added to my list, was Collateral Beauty, the topic of today’s review. A dear, dear friend of mine watched it and recommended it to me, and when I saw that it was on HBO, I decided it was time to check it off my list. I wish I could say that I could return my friend’s favor and recommend this movie, but alas I cannot.  This movie did absolutely nothing for me….  Let’s get into it….

I’m going full spoilers here, laying it all out because it’s just not worth dancing around the plot points and reveals.

Collateral Beauty follows Will Smith who plays a marketing (I think?) executive who started a company with his best friend (Edward Norton) and runs it with the help of Kate Winslet and Michael Pena.  After a quick opening scene of Smith giving his employees a rah-rah-ree speech, we flash forward a couple years and find out that in that time, Smith lost his young daughter and he has basically shut himself off from the world in his grief. As part of his grief, he writes letters to Time, Love, and Death.  Now his friends and coworkers (Norton, Winslet, and Pena) have been trying to help him get through his grief but have yet to be able to reach him and, due to his absence, their company is in danger of failing.  So his friends continue to show him love and compassion in his grief and attempt to save the company in an ethical way right? Yea no…..

They hire a private investigator, who discovers the letters, then they decide to play into Smith’s fantasy and literally hire actors to approach Smith in public and pretend to be Love, Time, and Death. And if that wasn’t enough, they plot to film him talking to these people pretending to be nebulous concepts, and then digitally remove them from the videos, to make it look like he’s insane so they can negate his majority vote and sell the company….. What. The. Actual. Fuck.  Norton, Winselt, and Pena’s characters are terrible people and have little to no redeeming qualities played out on screen. Also the actors are played by Helen Mirren, Kiera Knightly, and Jacob Latimore.  How this movie got this much fucking star power, I’ll never know.

So not only are these people actively gaslighting their dearest friend to get rich off the sale of the company, it turns out that the three actors aren’t really actors but are in fact the embodiments of Love, Time, and Death. Seriously.  And since the three “actors” pair off with each of Smith’s “friends”, they end up helping each one of them through either an issue with love, death, or time.  All of this crammed into a 97 minute movie…  None of the characters are especially likable and given how little time we spend with literally 7 main characters, all of them are flat, one note characters with no development past what you would get out of a script that even the Lifetime channel would reject. Honestly this feels like a rejected story idea from that show Touched by an Angel.

None of these A List actors get nearly enough to do in the movie for them to actually present any worthwhile acting with maybe the exception of Will Smith.  His character actually has an arc that feels real in this film and really the only character I gave a shit about.  Honestly, if this story was stripped down to just him interacting with Love, Time, and Death as a way of coping with his grief, then I could see this being a much better movie.  Sadly that is not what happened.

I lied a little bit about going full spoilers here. There is one character and twist that I have yet to talk about but I will leave that for whoever decides to actually watch this film after reading this. Whoever that may be.

This is gonna be a short review cause I’ve got nothing left to say about Collateral Beauty. Don’t watch this movie.  Unless you make it a drinking game.  Even then, be careful you don’t get alcohol poisoning….

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