The last few years have not been kind to Will Smith and Collateral Beauty proves to be no exception. To be honest, this movie kept putting me to sleep repeatedly while I viewed it last night. If you want to see a movie that deals with loss and grief, please go watch Manchester by the Sea instead.
David Frankel directs from a screenplay by Allan Loeb. The star-studded cast includes Smith, Edward Norton, Keira Knightley, Michael Pena, Naomi Harris, Jacob Lattimore, Kate Winslet, and Helen Mirren. The cast isn’t enough to save the film, which tries so hard to be awards bait and fails. Collateral Beauty had a quick turn around as principal photography only started this past February.
Smith stars as Howard, an advertising executive who is grieving his daughter. He’s not even close to being the same man that he used to be before his daughter died. While Howard is not emotionally there, Whit (Norton), Claire (Winslet), and Simon (Pena) are trying to keep their agency alive. While there is an offer to buy the company, Howard is the majority shareholder and there’s not much that can be done if he won’t answer the phone. His co-workers are concerned and they are trying their best to reach him but rather than talk, he spends time writing letters to Love, Time, and Death.
His co-workers decide to hire a private investigator and a casting call subsequently leads Whit running after a young woman to a theater. This is where Whit finds Amy (Knightley) rehearsing a play with Brigitte (Mirren) and Raffi (Lattimore). Finding out about the letters, he gets the brilliant idea of hiring actors to play Love, Time, and Death. Is it a great idea? No. Far from it. But this is what we have to work with.
As his co-workers work on trying to reach him, Howard is trying to muster up the courage to attend a support group run by Madeline (Harris). There’s a clever twist as a part of this plot line that I won’t dare spoil. Madeline has faced head on what Howard just won’t come to terms with.
I’m not saying it’s the worst movie of 2016 but it is one of the worst movies that I’ve seen this year along with Independence Day 2: Resurgence and I passed on just about every movie that did the worst with film critics this year. There’s better films to see this weekend and you’d be better off saving your money on this one.
Warner Brothers opens Collateral Beauty in theaters everywhere on Friday, December 16, 2016.