Collateral Beauty: "What If Love, Death And Time Are Trying To Help You"

Director: David Frankel
Writer:     Allan Loeb
Starring: Will Smith
                Edward Norton
                Keira Knightley
                Michael Pena
                Naomie Harris
                Jacob Latimore
                Kate Winslet
                Helen Mirren
Rating:    *

Home Release: Spring, 2017

The first time I heard about this film was on a talk show in the UK. Will Smith was promoting it, alongside Helen Mirren and Naomie Harris; and as they boasted of their supporting cast and the story, I thought...that sounds incredible. A stellar cast, an intriguing story with a twist, and a perfect mix of drama and comedy. Then I saw the odd review, and became disheartened; and then I saw it, and every review was correct.

Michael Pena, Kate Winslet
& Will Smith
The only positive thing I found in this film is Will Smith's performance as grieving father Howard Inlet. Though it is far from a performance that is able to save the film from itself, but it is the only glimmer of light there is. He shows moments of honest pain and uncontrollable grief; and he puts this out in a way that at first is understandable and moving. However, it soon become grating, and by the end of the film, I no longer cared for his journey.

When you have a cast that is packed with this many Oscar winners and nominees, you think you'd find a way to truly utilise their talents. Sadly director David Frankel is unable to do this, apart from Keira Knightley; she's as wooden and unforgettable as ever. You have actors like Helen Mirren and Kate Winslet delivering their lines with a lack of real passion or energy; it is almost like the lack of inspiration in the film making or the script drained the ladies of their talents temporarily. I never thought I'd watch a film where I thought Mirren and Winslet were the weak links, but Collateral Beauty is that film.

To add to the poor performances, you have a script full of corny and vomit-inducing dialogue; a script that should never have been given to the talent that stars in this film. A man hiding his cancer from his family, a woman pining for nothing more than a baby, and a grieving man who can't even remember what his ex-wife looks like. Allan Loeb's (the writer) attempts at giving the chacters backstories and meaning actually leaves them devoid of anything to empathise with. I watched, and did not care for a single one of the characters that were on that screen.

Helen Mirren, Keira Knightley
& Jacob Latimore
The film also tries to throw in some twists in the films final moments, twists that make no sense, and tie absolutely nothing together. Mirren, Knightley and Jacob Latimore play actors who get hired to help Harold grieve by pretending to be Death, Love and Time respectively. Then in the closing scenes, it becomes 'clear' that there is more to them than meets the eye. The problem is, when you then look back at the film, it still makes no sense as to how this twist is plausible. It seems like a desperate attempt to get audience members talking as they leave the cinema, and then for it to have a 'The Sixth Sense' effect; something it completely misses the mark on.

I was excited, to say the least, when I first heard about Collateral Beauty, and it completely shocks me how a film this poor managed to land the actors it can brag about having. I am in no way shocked that the cast were nominated for a Razzie Award for Worst Screen Combo, and to add insult to injury, they've been named "The entire cast of once respected actors". I'm sure Collateral Beauty is a film that many of the people involved will hope to forget about, and I know that I also hope to forget about it as soon as possible.

Collateral Beauty - Trailer