Starring: Will Smith, Kiera Knightly
for thematic elements and brief strong language.
Reviewer: Lynn Venhaus
Ad executive, grieving over his 6-year-old daughter’s death, shuts down and can’t regain his mojo.
His partners intervene when his inability to work compromises their company. In a bizarre scheme, they hire actors to embody life’s three abstracts: Death, Time and Love.
Will this move shake Howard back to reality or prove his incompetence?
Only a person with a heart of stone would not be moved by a child’s tragic death, so in that regard, “Collateral Beauty” tugs at the heartstrings and tear ducts.
But this slick glossy version of Hollywood holiday inspiration is so blatantly manipulative and sappy that it fails to emotionally connect in any meaningful way.
What sells it at all is the quality of the cast, including two Oscar winners. Will Smith is the weakest link, even as a zombie-like recluse, but when your business partners are Kate Winslet, Edward Norton and Michael Pena, that’s a given.
Their characters, however – no surprise at this contrivance – have their own issues with Time, Love and Death. The actors – Helen Mirren, Keira Knightley and Jacob Latimore – raise more questions too.
The movie wraps up far too neatly, but with one twist too many, overshoots the landing.