By Juliana DiVito
★★★★ out of ★★★★
Collateral Beauty wants to make sure moviegoers exit 2016 with a bang. This movie will tug at your heart strings and leave you reaching for the box of tissues. There aren’t enough words to really describe the true beauty of Collateral Beauty.
It’s no secret that Will Smith is on the hunt for an Oscar, and his performance in this film may be the extra push he needs to rise to the top of the pack. Smith, who plays advertising executive Howard Inlet, brings raw emotion to his performance. Even with almost no dialogue in the first half of the film, you can feel the anger and frustration simply from his body language, which is truly extraordinary. The depths of sadness and mystery that his character embodies are intensely delivered.
Smith’s tremendous acting skills however do not overshadow the impressive talents of Kate Winslet (Claire), Edward Norton (Whit), Keira Knightley (Amy), Michael Peña (Simon), and Helen Mirren (Brigette). The idea of bringing abstract concepts (death, time, love) to life is intriguing. Mirren portrays Death, Knightley takes on the role of Love, and Jacob Latimore (Raffi) represents time. These three characters bring a unique story to the plot, which is simply mind-blowing. Inlet writes to Death, Love, and Time and Mirren, Knightley, and Latimore answer those letters in correspondence to their individual roles. The unraveling of the importance and meaning beind Death, Love, and Time is when the audience has the opportunity to really connect with the plot of the film.
There is great attention to detail with the actors that portray each of these abstract concepts, from their costumes to their mannerisms. The thought that was placed into creating this tear-jerker of a film is apparent. The heaviness of emotion and moral dilemmas that remain constant throughout the entire movie make it nearly impossible to disconnect. The writers do an extraordinary job of not allowing the absurdity of the plot to become far-fetched. Ironically, they take very abstract concepts and make them concrete, which attests to the overall talent that was used to create Collateral Beauty.
The messages that are delivered from Death, Love, and Time come full circle by the end of the film. This allows everything to become crystal clear. The possible sadness and heartbreak that some may feel watching this film is simply collateral beauty for the sense of closure this larger than life story brings.
The Good: The raw emotion in this film is breath-taking.
The Bad: You’ll probably run out of tissues.
Final Word: And the Oscar goes to….
Starring Will Smith, Kate Winslet, Edward Norton, Keira Knightley. Directed by John Madden.
Running Time: 97 minutes
Rated PG-13 for thematic elements and brief strong language