So last night I got the chance to see a preview screening of the film ‘Collateral Beauty’. I was really excited to see the film even though I had heard some mixed feedback about it. Online, people were saying how sad it was. How much they cried. Other people were saying it had ‘weak’ performances. However, I went in with an open mind…
For starters, the cast is brilliant. Will Smith, Kiera Knightly, Edward Norton, Kate Winslet and Helen Mirren to name a few. You can’t really get a better cast than that! Is this a nice film- not really. Is this a good film- yes! Reason being is that the movie is sad. The film is about Howard (Will Smith) who has suffered a tragedy and to try and deal with his feelings he writes letters to Time, Love and Death. It sounds kind of cheesy right, but the twists within the narrative are wonderful and give the film a much-needed lift since the theme is rather intense.
I thought that Will Smith was brilliant in the film. His performance was so intense and you could feel how deeply he connected with the character however it wasn’t overbearing. He had just the right amount of emotion and I didn’t get frustrated at his hesitance, it worked. Helen Mirren’s character (Death) added a touch of comedic value to the film. Her character was deep as it was intended, but there were moments when the irony of the ‘thing’ she was playing was funny. I enjoyed her scenes a lot.
I actually enjoyed all the actor’s performances. Kiera Knightly was perfectly cast as Love and Edward Norton was a convincing best friend to Howard. The only criticism I have is that I felt Kate Winslet’s American accent was a bit forced. Maybe this was because I am so used to her speaking voice that I wasn’t used to it but something felt disjointed for me. However, this didn’t stop me from being drawn into the film.
I do however feel that it was the narrative that kept my attention rather than the cinematic elements. The film takes place in New York and although there were certain moments where the scenery of New York was beautiful, I didn’t feel like they were ‘IN’ New York. Maybe it had to do with the colour palette of the film. The creative team used duller colours and it felt like the grade for the film was used to make the colours look even duller. Maybe this was to mimic the emotion of the main character, which would then make sense? I understand that this is traditional when it comes to the Genre of Drama but I felt it was too emphasised.
There was an interesting element of the creative side of the film was the contrast of time and place. The film takes place over the holiday season. But the cheer of the holidays is contrasted against the inner turmoil of Howard. I found this to be interesting and it really showed off the idea that life goes on. The protagonist was going through this awful tragedy and yet, the world around him was still turning. He was suffering but the people around him were taking part in the annual holiday traditions.
Overall, this film is exceptionally thought provoking. I do not want to give away the ending but I will say this; If you find yourself losing interest towards the middle of the film, stick with it! The ending makes it worth it. There is a wonderful twist that to some may seem obvious but to others will be a lovely surprise. This film makes you want to hug the people you love and it makes you miss the people you have lost. It is a journey through every emotion. Love, happiness, sadness, anger but most of all it leaves you wanting to notice the Collateral Beauty…