Collateral Beauty

Loss is something that all of us must face at one time or another. It affects each person differently. While some seem unfazed, others cannot adjust to life after the death of a loved one.

In Collateral Beauty, Will Smith portrays Howard Arnett, a father and advertising executive who has shut off the world after the loss of his daughter to cancer.

He disconnects from work, friends, and family. He is a shell of himself, not knowing how to find his place in the world now that a major piece of him is missing.

In an attempt to bring normalcy back to his life and save their company, his friends and colleagues band together to devise a plan to hire actors to play the roles of abstract beings that Howard contacts in his distress, hoping that it forces him to confront his feelings about his loss.

Collateral Beauty is more than just your run of the mill Holiday films. The movie is touching, heart-wrenching, and layered. The film is not limited to the growth of Howard.

We witness how each of his friends has a challenge that they must face that they have been putting off, just as their friend has for the past two years. An ensemble cast of Dame Hellen Mirren, Edward Norton, Kate Winslet, Michael Pena, Kiera Knigthley, and Naomie Harris would normally have audiences or critics worried that the film itself may be light on content, plot, or depth. This is not the case.

The film’s cast is outshined by the story that develops as audiences watch and wait for Howard to become unbroken. The film does not overshoot with respect to their expectations or even offer up conflated ideas and developments. Collateral Beauty gives audiences a chance to watch a man deal with loss and reflect on how we all deal with loss in our own ways.

The film is tough to watch in some moments due to its approach to love and death in not simplifying the significance of one’s life. It demonstrates that each person matters and their lives have a lasting impact. Collateral Beauty will leave audiences reflecting on their own circumstances and those of people they know.

At times, the feelings are too real and a deep connection is made between the characters and the audience that will leave many wishing that they had brought boxes of tissue with them as they will find themselves being touched and heavily impacted.