“Collateral Beauty” which is the new Allan Loeb penned movie gives audiences an interesting, and unique examination about overcoming tragedy by literally being confronted with love, time and death personified.
Will Smith stars as Howard Inlet, who is successful and enthusiastic about life until he suffers the death of his child. When Howard starts writing letters to Time, Love and Death, his friends (played by Edward Norton, Kate Winslet, and Michael Peña) devise a plan to help him become whole again by finding three physical beings to portray the concepts of Love, Death and Time played by Keira Knightley, Helen Mirren and Jacob Latimore.
From the beginning the film draws viewers in with the cinematography in capturing New York, during the Christmas holiday season, notably bridges also serve as a backdrop in many scenes, possibly as a sort of symbolism of bridging Howard’s world with the world of his friends and those not enduring a grieving process. The setting also particularly focuses on the “rich” side of Manhattan, where the audience is pulled into a side of the city and sites and restaurants they may not often pay attention.
Smith’s performance as the lead character of Howard is the strongest in the nonverbal scenes, where he is simply acting with body language. Not many actors can pull off a scene with body language alone but Smith does it with ease. Latimore who portrays Raffi, a young aspiring actor who personifies “time”, Latimore brings a touch of street wise inner city youth to the role, but never comes across as aggressive, thuggish or hostile, and in fact despite the character’s style of dress and youth, the character comes off as welcoming and wise. Mirren also delivers wisdom as Brigitte who personifies death and adds a bit of humor to the film, as well as sometimes coming across as fairy godmother like.
Howard’s love interest in the film is played by Naomie Harris. Onscreen how both Smith and Harris deal with their similar painful experience perfectly contrast each other. Harris and Smith’s interactions throughout the film deliver a sense of mystery, and curiosity about their connection which from the time they connected, seemed special and familiar.
Although for the better half of the movie Collateral Beauty focuses on dealing with grief, by the end viewers can come away with finding the beauty even in loss and tragedy.
The film hits theaters this Friday.