Yes, I know the Christmas movie Collateral Beauty is about out of the theaters but it is still showing two or so shows a day in a few theaters or you can call this my DVD review or maybe go see it when it goes to the Dollar Cinemas. Collateral Beauty is one hundred percent schmaltz. That's a good thing.
Yes, I know. Professional critics have for the most part universally panned the movie because it is melodramatic, it is sentimental, and it has heavy-handed pandering to our feels. It is why you should go see it. This is not new. Professional critics, as a rule, hate certain kinds of movies. They are going to hate most movies that were adapted from comic books. They are going to hate most remakes. - Okay, I'll give ‘em the remakes one. Most of those are pretty bad. - Most of all, professional critics hate movies that tug at our hearts or manipulate our emotions. For the most part, critics universally hated It's a Wonderful Life, The Wizard of Oz, and Home Alone, just to mention a few. Heck, even Psycho got mediocre reviews.
Collateral Beauty is everything a movie like this should be. It is sentimental. It is predictable. It manipulates our emotions. It is well acted. It seeks to give us an uplifting message. In this time, we need a feel good time. If there is anything Collateral Beauty lacks is that it could have easily expanded the roles and perhaps even the side stories of it stellar cast. I could have easily had more from the edgy Time character (Jacob Latimore) or Love (Keira Knightly), and of course, who doesn't always want more of the stunning embodiment of acting, Helen Mirren who plays "Death"?
Collateral Beauty is the story of Howard Inlet (Will Smith) who has become a shell of the man he once was. Once a vibrant man, he has become a withdrawn human when his six-year-old daughter dies. He now uses his time at his business to build complicated domino fall rows and writes letters to Time, Love and Death. His three partners, Whit (Edward Norton), Claire (Kate Winslet) and Simon (Michael Peña) need to sell the business if it is to survive. They must convince Howard, who has the controlling stock that he must move on. They hire, or so they think, three actors to become Howard's objects of his letters. Oddly, each of the partners must also deal with their own ghosts of time, love and death. They all must learn. While it will never be okay, Howard will learn to deal with the loss of his daughter, just as his partners learn to deal with their own demons.
In perhaps the heaviest handed symbol in the movie, life becomes like those falling dominos. Beautiful, fragile, interconnected, and having impact that is a moment of Collateral Beauty. If you go see it, take my daughter's advice, "Bring a hanky."