“Just be sure to notice the collateral beauty.”
Okay, so, I can’t really talk about Collateral Beauty due to all the spoilers that would be needed to talk about it in any depth.
Short version: Go see it and bring tissues because you will cry. Also this movie is remarkably clever and funny at unexpected times…
Longer, spoiler free version:
The film is based on a couple of plot twists that I think give some real emotional punch to the movie so going into detail is a little hard.
I will say that while no one actor steals the film, every major actor turns in a very moving performance. While I think most of the focus of the film focuses on Will Smith, I think Helen Mirren as Death stands out the most. She brings a rather lighthearted and friendly nature to the end of things in this world.
Of Will Smith movies I will say that this wasn’t as pointlessly pretentious as Seven Pounds nor as tediously painful as The Pursuit of Happyness (good film, but I think we can all agree that it was about half an hour too much of suffering). If anything I think is the movie Smith has been trying to make for some time, one that is meaningful but without being too heavy handed. Granted Winter’s Tale was better at being meaningful and powerful, but Smith only got a supporting role in that as the most morose Lucifer in history.
But this movie is wonderful, and probably bears many repeated viewings due to the fact that I noticed little things that showed the overall theme of “collateral beauty” (the wonder of the totality of existence, some what the metaphysical equivalent of the economics principle of creative destruction) was heightened even by choice of which part of the New York skyline to show in certain scenes.
I’m probably going to come back to this film later to discuss it’s deeper meaning when I’m not as concerned with spoilers (and certainly after a second viewing) but for now let me say this movie is a sold A+…now for some mild spoilers while I decry the sad state of critics…If you don’t want any spoilers leave now…
Of course there are too many stupid critics out there (far too many) but I think the dumbest was Dave Schilling of The Guardian. I’m not sure if Schilling was on drugs when he went to see this or if he’s just mentally challenged, quite possibly both…but it’s clear he’s far too stupid to ever be allowed to review a film ever again. But he does seem to hit all the major points of why idiots hated this film. From not getting the plot with comments like referring to Smith’s character as having “writer’s block” when that wasn’t even vaguely an issue in the movie or his complaint that “It’s not even a fantasy film!” because Death, Love and Time are only actors…of course the movie makes it quite clear that the actors playing Death, Love and Time are actually Death, Love and Time from the fact that they’re also helping Howard’s friends work through the same issues, to the fact that Death appeared to Howard’s wife as Death long before she appeared as an actor, to the fact that he can still see them at the end when his wife cannot.
Next this idiot who should not be allowed near a film review ever again complains about the fact that Smith has “amnesia” completely missing that it was actually the couple’s desire to meet as if they’re strangers and his inability to say his daughter’s name has nothing to do with amnesia but rather the grief and denial that comes from losing a child. I can get not liking a movie…but when you hate a movie based on plot THAT NEVER HAPPENED your opinion is at best trash and at worst intentionally lying to hate something. I would like to believe that Schilling is just stupid, but given that this film is not subtle about the plot points he gets wrong I can only assume that since he clearly went in wanting to hate it, he intentionally lied about it, because the actual plot of the film is quite compelling and you have to an inhuman monster not to be moved by it…thus to hate it you have to blatantly lie about what you saw. Or he, like far too many critics, is just a fucking idiot. Of course this knuckle dragging excuse for a critic also complained that Winter’s Tale, one of the most beautiful movies ever made, was also terrible.
But this brings up a larger point about critics. There seems to be an unconscious desire to hate anything that is moving. Ben Affleck turns in the most realistic autistic performance in years critics shout it’s not realistic. Tina Fey not only shows she can act but gives us a look at the insanity of an occupied nation, critics claim that it makes no sense. Now Will Smith heads a cast that forces people ask some serious questions life and it’s meaning and we get drivel about it being ineffective about tugging on our emotions and lies about what the movie is even about. Anything that doesn’t spoon feed a detached nihilism is panned and the only things that get praise are mindless works without hope or pride or passion. This is truly a sad state of affairs. The more I see movies the more I want something of depth, apparently the more they see movies the more they want something mindless.
So please, go watch this film, be moved by it, and make your money show that the viewing audience prefers to see things without real depth.