Have you seen the trailer to Collateral Beauty? Well, please do so. Here is one and here is another. They are both great. I saw it first a few months ago and knew I had to see that movie, right away preferably.
It has actors I like in it, the story looks neat, and looks like a perfect holiday film, without being cheesy Christmas. And it looks like it would make me cry.
But man, it turns out this movie is incredibly fucked up and inappropriate.
Ah love, Knightley knows all about that one.
Like I said, please watch the trailer. Now here is the real plot.
Yes, Howard (Will Smith) used to be good at his job. He ran an advertising firm, preached that every ad should speak to three absolutes: Love, Time or Death, and people loved him. And then, he had his daughter die. Now, the majority of the film takes place TWO YEARS LATER. And now, he is still dealing with his grief. He is barely audible, he spends most of the time just making dominoes just to knock them down, not even looking at them as they fall.
And this leaves most of the company to his three main friends/colleagues. Whit (Edward Norton), Claire (Kate Winslet), and Simon (Michael Peña). Whit is recently divorced and his pre-teen daughter hates him. Claire wants to maybe get a surrogate baby. And Simon, well, Simon might be dying.
All of them have their own issues, but they are still doing their jobs, and right now their company is failing. They have an offer to sell their company though, for $17 a share, which is more than what they really are worth! They just need Howard’s approval, but he refuses to do anything. So they think, sure, maybe they can just show he isn’t right in the head to make decisions without him.
So they develop a scheme, hire a P.I. (Ann Dowd), and she finds out that he has sent letters to Love, Death, and Time. Whit decides that the best option now is to hire actors to be these three entities, make him look crazy in public, record the display, digitally remove the actors, and bam, they can sell the company and do good things.
Yay morals. Featuring Helen Mirren, Keira Knightley, and Jacob Latimore as the actors, and Naomie Harris as a grief counselor.
Two of these characters are considered more of a main character than Will Smith.
My eyes could not believe what I was seeing. I had to both shake my head and put it in my palms at various points in the film. What trailer did I see and why did it lie so hardcore to get viewers?
Oh yeah. Money.
I haven’t seen a trailer so deceptive of a movie since Hercules, but in that case it was a nice surprise. It didn’t change the plot of the film. In this case, people go in expecting a heart warming tale and get a story about very dickish people and they don’t get punishment. Seriously. There may still be heart warming elements, but they come to people who are not worthy of our sympathy.
Here is a fact. Yes. I teared up a bit in the film. But making me cry does not a good movie make. It is frankly really easy to do nowadays, especially if part of the plot involves a dead daughter. But I cried during Jem and the Holograms and could still see its shitty elements.
Look, trailer lies aside, the main ending after all of it is pretty easy to figure out. Except for one element and that is because it doesn’t make any sense. It could have maybe been considered an okay film, but I have to shake my head about the last final reveal. It seems tacked on and never explained, and makes me question how it even got to that point. Almost as bad as the reveal at the end of Now You See Me.
There are a lot of big names in this film and I was really excited to see it after I saw the trailer. But it is easy work for basically everyone involved. Smith feels like a supporting character until the end of the movie. No one is giving I their all and everyone seems to be collecting an quick paycheck.
Collateral Beauty is emotionally manipulative while being morally terrible. That is not a good combination anywhere. And especially not around the holidays.
1 out of 4.