“Collateral Beauty”- a closer look at grief

After watching the trailer for “Collateral Beauty,” solely because Will Smith was on the poster, I wasn’t too psyched to go see the movie. Because I needed something to do over the weekend, I went to watch it anyway. Let’s just say I was happy I didn’t skip out on it.

The plot revolves around Howard (Will Smith), a brilliant advertising executive, who, after his daughter’s death, loses all desire to live. Howard’s co-workers and longtime friends Whit (Edward Norton), Simon (Michael Pena) and Claire (Kate Winslet) desperately try to reconnect with Howard, while also trying to keep their company afloat. In an attempt to relieve some of his grief, Howard writes letters to Death (Helen Mirren), Time (Jacob Latimore) and Love (Keira Knightley), accusing them for all that is wrong in the world. In response to his letters, Howard is approached by each: Death, Time and Love, personified. His conversations with these abstractions encourage him to attend a support group, and to turn his life back around.

This movie stood out from other dramatic ones because the characters’ behaviors were realistic. Howard, grief-stricken, found himself unable to even say the name of his deceased daughter, because he hadn’t learned how to cope with his loss. He truly believed he had lost everything, so he didn’t want to move on with his life. Love, Death and Time don’t coddle Howard; instead, they force him to face his reality. That was my favorite part. The movie broadcasts the message that no matter what happens, life goes on, and it’s up to you to get over the hurdles with your head held high.

Not only that, but it’s interesting how each Whit, Simon and Claire have mini-plots relating to love, time or death. This adds an element of practicality, because although they’re trying to help Howard they have serious problems of their own.

Overall, the movie was impressive because of the plot twist, which confused me for a second, and Smith’s acting. He did an incredible job of portraying a parent who had suddenly lost a child and couldn’t come to terms with the turn of events. This movie was definitely a tearjerker executed well.