Director: David Frankel
Cast: Will Smith, Edward Norton, Keira Knightley
Release Date: March 14, 2017
A Review By: Kevin Lovell
Film Rating: 6.5/10
Disc Rating: 7/10
When a successful New York ad executive suffers a personal tragedy and retreats from life, his friends devise a drastic plan to reach him before he loses everything. Pushing him to the very edge, they force him to confront the truth in surprising and profoundly human ways. From Oscar-winning director David Frankel, this thought-provoking drama explores how even the deepest tragedy can reveal moments of beauty, and how the constants of love, time and loss interlock in a life fully lived.
‘Collateral Beauty’ tells the tale of successful ad executive Howard (Smith) whose life takes a drastic turn following a painful loss. Having retreated from fully interacting with the world, the future of his company becomes threatened when crucial accounts which rely on his relationship with the clients begin to inevitably fall apart. Desperate to save the company and their livelihoods at any cost, his partner Whit (Norton) and the rest of the key team construct a clever ploy with the intention of making Howard look publicly crazy so that they might be legally able to move on without requiring his approval. What no one expected was the realizations and truths that would be brought to the surface for each of them as a result of their plan; after which none of them is likely to ever be quite the same.
Directed by David Frankel (The Devil Wears Prada, Marley & Me) from a screenplay written by Allan Loeb (The Switch, Rock of Ages), Frankel does a fairly competent job at the helm of ‘Collateral Beauty’ guiding this emotional, albeit somewhat predictable tale along quite well for the most part. The film also owes a great deal of credit to the talented folks that comprise the cast including Will Smith (Men In Black, Bad Boys), Edward Norton (Fight Club, Death to Smoochy), Kate Winslet (Titanic, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind), Michael Peña (The Martian, End of Watch), Keira Knightley (Pirates of the Caribbean, Domino), Naomie Harris (Moonlight, Skyfall), Helen Mirren (The Queen, The Debt), Jacob Latimore (The Maze Runner, Ride Along) and more, nearly all of which deliver solid performances in each of their respective roles and as a result really help the film to not fall into the territory of utterly goofy.
‘Collateral Beauty’ is an emotional and somewhat magical feeling tale. At times powerful and beautiful, it tells a heartfelt story that many can surely relate to in one degree or another and always manages to hold the viewer’s attention. It also tends to merge this painful and emotionally tense material with strange and seemingly out of place humor, often leaving you laughing at the oddest of times and unsure whether it was intended as humorous or simply a bit ridiculous; never leaning one way or the other and therefore causing the laughs to feel somewhat awkward more often than not. Talented director David Frankel does a solid job guiding this oddly paced story along and the most notable aspect of ‘Collateral Beauty’ is undoubtedly the powerhouse cast which includes Will Smith, Edward Norton, Helen Mirren and many more, without which the film would likely fall promptly into the realm of just flat out silly. I would suggest anyone who is a diehard fan of any of the talented folks comprising the key cast and anyone that simply appreciates a powerful and somewhat emotional tale of loss and struggling to finding yourself again to try and give ‘Collateral Beauty’ a shot if you have the opportunity to do so. It may not be a perfect film by any means but should still offer a thoroughly entertaining journey for fans of similarly themed movies and is likely well worth a watch.
Overall, ‘Collateral Beauty’ is a heartfelt, powerful and often quite beautiful film, yet it also suffers from an odd pacing and a peculiar tendency to intersperse seemingly out of place humor throughout the emotional scenes which causes the story to feel a bit off and the uncertainty of whether the humor is intentional also tends to lead to some awkward laughs. Fortunately the capable guidance of director David Frankel and a noteworthy cast led by the talented Will Smith help to keep things from utterly crumbling. It won’t be for everyone and while many folks will surely be a bit bothered by the odd mashing of genres and styles, I would nonetheless still recommend fans of the many talented cast members and anyone who appreciates an emotionally riveting and often quite beautiful tale of love, loss and redemption to make a point of giving ‘Collateral Beauty’ a whirl if you have the chance, although it’s probably unnecessary to rush out and acquire a copy immediately if you’re not already overly interested in the movie.
The Blu-ray release of ‘Collateral Beauty’ features a full 1080p High Definition presentation utilizing the film’s original 2.40:1 Cinemascope Aspect Ratio. The video presentation looks quite great as a whole and delivers a sharp, detailed and clean presentation from start to finish with no noticeable faults to be found within. It holds up without issue even during the darkly lit sequences and never causes anything occurring on screen to become negatively affected or rendered indiscernible. Overall, this is a top notch high definition video presentation from Warner Bros that should have no trouble pleasing the masses.
The Blu-ray release features a lossless 5.1 channel DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack. This lossless multichannel soundtrack holds up beautifully at all times and provides a crisp, clean and occasionally somewhat aggressive audio presentation throughout. It regularly takes advantage of all five available channels in order to send the music, plus crowd chatter and other fitting elements throughout the various speakers when needed, and always making certain that any dialogue that might be occurring simultaneously remains clean and fully audible at all times. Overall, this is a solid 5.1 channel DTS-HD MA soundtrack that delivers in every way required of it and shouldn’t disappoint.
The Blu-ray release of ‘Collateral Beauty’ includes a single extra in the way of a behind the scenes Featurette ‘A Modern Fable: Discovering Collateral Beauty’ (running approximately 15 minutes in length) which takes a look at bringing the film to life and includes behind the scenes footage, plus interviews/comments with the cast and crew, and more.