COLLATERAL BEAUTY

PG-13

“Collateral Beauty” is a very strange movie that is somewhere between fantasy and magical realism. The basic concept of the film is that from tragedy comes beauty if you can believe that.

Retreating from life after a tragedy, Howard (Academy Award Nominee Will Smith) questions the universe by writing to Love, Time and Death. Receiving unexpected answers, he begins to see how these things interlock and how even loss can reveal moments of meaning and beauty.

Academy Award nominee Edward Norton plays Howard’s business partner and best friend. Academy Award Winner Kate Winslet and Michael Pena are also partners in Howard’s firm. Academy Award Winner Helen Mirren, Academy Award Nominee Keira Knightly and Jacob Latimore play actors who try to trick Howard into believing they are the answers to his letters.

I think Smith chose this film to try to win an Oscar and although his performance was adequate, the film just isn’t Oscar worthy. I thought he was a little over the top. After all the brouhaha his wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, pulled last year over him not being nominated for “Concussion”, the Academy will probably give him a nod even though this performance doesn’t deserve it where his performance in “Concussion” did deserve a nomination.

With all the star power in this film, twenty year old Jacob Latimore’s performance is the most believable in a cast of amazing talent. He was great. We should hear more from this young man. I think he has great potential.

“Collateral Beauty” was directed by Academy Award winner David Frankel and written by Allan Loeb. Frankel has directed such films as “The Devil Wears Prada” and “Marley & Me.”

The biggest problem I had with this film was the script. It was predictable to say the least. I had it figured out within the first half hour. Loeb used the screenplay to philosophize which never makes for a really good script.

The director wasted a fabulous cast of actors on a mediocre script. How sad is that?

I think this film will speak more to millennials than it will to an older audience who has gone around the block more than once. Not to say this is a bad movie, it’s not, but it isn’t a great movie either. With this cast and director, I was hoping for a great Christmas movie of the “It’s a Wonderful Life” ilk but “Collateral Beauty” doesn’t deliver.

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