MOVIE REVIEW: Collateral Beauty is a mess of a film

Will Smith in a scene from the movie Collateral Beauty.
Will Smith in a scene from the movie Collateral Beauty. Barry Wetcher

HAVING now watched the film, it's still not any clearer to me what exactly Collateral Beauty means.

Also unclear is how the filmmakers managed to attract such a talented group of actors to this nonsensical, completely misguided mess of a film.

Attempting to capture the inspirational holiday spirit of past classics like It's a Wonderful Life, the very uninspired Collateral Beauty follows Will Smith as advertising executive Howard.

Two years after the tragic death of his six-year-old daughter, Howard has become a shell of his former self, ignoring the needs of his colleagues and employees in favour of elaborate domino set ups.

Michael Pena, Kate Winslet and Will Smith in a scene from the movie Collateral Beauty.
Michael Pena, Kate Winslet and Will Smith in a scene from the movie Collateral Beauty. Barry Wetcher

In a desperate attempt to prove that Howard is mentally unable to perform his duties, his friends pay a group of actors to appear to Howard as the spirits of death, time and love.

Everything plays out in a series of cliches so forced that even the amazing supporting cast featuring Kate Winslet, Edward Norton, Michael Pena and Helen Mirren can't make it work and in fact look lost and, frankly, bored on screen.

Helen Mirren and Will Smith in a scene from the movie Collateral Beauty.
Helen Mirren and Will Smith in a scene from the movie Collateral Beauty. Barry Wetcher

It's obvious what they're going for here but the lack of any organic progression and near criminal levels of disrespect for its own characters makes any emotional response completely hollow.

Collateral Beauty replaces genuine storytelling with lazy manipulation and the result is an expectedly forgettable holiday movie.

Collateral Beauty opens nationally tomorrow.


Collateral Beauty

Stars: Will Smith, Kate Winslet, Michael Pena, Helen Mirren, Edward Norton, Naomie Harris, Keira Knightley.

Director: David Frankel

Rating: M

Verdict: 1.5/5 stars

Topics:  collateral beauty kate winslet movies will smith

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