Films that manage to not only strike at your heart, but also your mind, your fears, desires and pull emotion from your own personal experience are cinematic magic. For a movie to run this gambit is precisely the reason that cinema is an art form because a good story invokes in all of us true moments. We might mask our feelings from the world but art will force us to internally face what we shelter from others. Oscar season is now in session. So let’s take a look at “Collateral Beauty” in this box office review…
Will Smith is back. I’m not sure why he took so many years off to bring this level of performance but it was worth it. His portrayal of a charismatic, intelligent leader and father gone away was brilliant. We are only treated to a small portion of his “before” persona but I feel that the charisma Smith carries normally alleviated my desire to see more of what I’m already familiar with. This was an examination of a broken, troubled, suffering father, husband and friend. If you have ever dealt with depression you might identify with his reluctance to do anything but stay within his apartment. You might understand his lack of desire to socialize or even eat. If you have ever lost someone close to your heart you might relate to the anger, the gnawing question of “Why” and the sadness that is hidden and shown in his eyes. From social recluse to a man who finally comes to terms with the fact he needs support and finds a group of individuals who suffer as he suffers, we get so much more than I anticipated from Smith when I walked into the theater. His performance was heart breaking but necessary and the cast of characters that performed alongside him each added a different level or complexity to an already difficult story.
The plot of this film was surprisingly as troubling as the character Smith plays. We see his friends and colleagues establishing a case against him to show he is unfit to lead the company and that his ownership should be relinquished for the good of the employees and bottom line. His friends go so far as to hire actors to portray his 3 career staples for success, time, love and death. Three small theater actors portray time, love and death while a private investigator records the interactions he has only to remove those actors from the film before it’s submitted to the board. The entire point of his friends actions is to make him look insane. This is so very sad.
There is redemption in this story. The three actors who are hired to portray time, love and death are each working with Smith’s 3 friends. The writing of this story brilliantly pins each “theme” to one of his friends who is struggling with that exact item in their personal life. Whether it’s trying to love a daughter who hates you or fighting off death because you’re ill or trying to find the time to create a family. Each character is faced with their personal dilemma while also trying to sabotage their friend. It’s poetic and wonderful.
“Collateral Beauty” is in theaters now! If you want a film that will make you feel many emotions, this is a film to see in a theater for the shared communal experience. When I saw this movie there wasn’t a dry eye in the theater and that included my own. I simply adore this film for what it created both on screen and internally for everyone who saw it with me. The ending makes you question if all of what you saw is real and it will leave with a feeling as warm as the smile Smith’s character has in the final scene. This is definitely worth the ticket price for a big screen viewing.