Collateral Beauty


Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray

Collateral Beauty
"Is this a film about loss and how (not) to cope with it?"

Odd can be a sod sometimes and Collateral Beauty is odd if it's anything other than deep fried pretentious.

Here's the thumbnail: Howard (Will Smith) is NY's advertising go-to guy. The key to success, he says, is love, time and death. Right... And then what?

Copy picture

It all goes to hell in a handy when Howard's six-year-old daughter dies. He responds by not responding. He shuts off; he shuts down; he rides his bike through the city and then rides it back again. His communication devises are unplugged. He grieves and when he stops grieving he starts again. Having been Energy Central's poster boy he becomes Mr Boring's best bud.

Meanwhile his colleagues in the advertising agency are worried, if not a little pissed. Howard owns the majority of the stock holdings, or shares, or whatever, and they need his approval, like a signature on a piece of paper, so they can do a deal with a rival company that will make them happy bunnies (Ed: make that "happy rich bunnies").

The movie locks down in Loonyville when the members of the board discover, with the help of Miss Marple's American cousin, that Howard has sent letters to Love, Time and Death. No stamp, no address, but messages nevertheless.

Head honcho Whit (Edward Norton) follows an attractive girl, who turns out to be Amy (Keira Knightley), into a run down theatre where an intimate group of players, led by Brigitte (Helen Mirren), are rehearsing. Whit makes them an offer they cannot refuse. In exchange for bankrolling their next production they must take on the personas of Love, Time, etc and confront Howard by replying in person to his letters. The plan has one purpose, to break the silence and allow Howard to see the sense in signing away his company.


Is this a film about loss and how (not) to cope with it? Is this a film about caring and sharing and not leaving the lonely to rot? Is this a film about wasting a star studded cast and not giving the money back? Is this so far up its own waste pipe it cannot see the light?

Will's eyes melt in puddles of glycerine. If this is acting, I'm a Dutchman. Hang on, I AM a Dutchman!

Only kidding...

Reviewed on: 24 Dec 2016
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Collateral Beauty packshot
Retreating from life after tragedy, a man questions the universe by writing to Love, Time and Death.
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Director: David Frankel

Writer: Allan Loeb

Starring: Will Smith, Edward Norton, Kate Winslet, Michael Peña, Helen Mirren, Naomie Harris, Keira Knightley, Jacob Latimore, Ann Dowd, Liza Colón-Zayas, Natalie Gold, Kylie Rogers, Shirley Rumierk, Alyssa Cheatham, Benjamin Snyder

Year: 2016

Runtime: 97 minutes

BBFC: 12A - Adult Supervision

Country: US


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