Apr 032017

Collateral Beauty is the epitome of what is wrong with studios today, especially considering the outright dishonest trailer they put together for this which features really unlikeable characters.



Collateral Beauty

Genre(s): Drama
Warner Bros. | PG13 – 96 min. – $29.98 | March 14, 2017

Date Published: 04/03/2017 | Author: The Movieman


Directed by:
David Frankel
Writer(s): Alan Loeb (written by)
Cast: Will Smith, Edward Norton, Keira Knightley, Michael Pena, Naomie Harris, Jacob Latimore, Kate Winslet, Helen Mirren
Digital Copy: Yes
Formats Included: Blu-ray
Number of Discs: 1
Audio: English (DTS-HD MA 5.1), French (Dolby Digital 5.1), Spanish (Dolby Digital 5.1)
Video: 1080p/Widescreen 2.40
Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish
Disc Size: 32.5 GB
Codec: MPEG-4 AVC
Region(s): A, B, C


THE MOVIE — 1.5/5

There were a couple questions that struck me following Collateral Beauty: 1. How in the world did this even get greenlit and 2. How in the hell did they manage to gather a group of very talented actors and 3. WHY the hell would such a group of talented actors agree to this schlock of a movie that has, accurately, deemed as “grief porn.”

Note: This review contains MAJOR PLOT SPOILERS, so readers beware!

Howard Inlet was the owner of a successful advertising agency but when his 6-year-old daughter dies, he retreats and lets his business slide to the point where it is about to close. His friends and employees, Whit (EDWARD NORTON), Claire (KATE WINSLET) and Simon (MICHAEL PENA) are concerned for his health and, well, their jobs. Since Howard has 60% stake in the company, he must sign off on a deal for another company come in and buy which will save everyone’s job, but any attempt to bring it up, or anything, and Howard shuts down.

Things have gone so far that Whit hires a private investigator to follow Howard and while there was nothing out of the ordinary, she does see him mail letters (OMG!!!) and manages to break into the box and take the three letters addressed to Love, Time and Death. So, Whit comes up with a plan when he comes upon three actors — Amy (KEIRA KNIGHTLEY), Raffi (JACOB LATIMORE) and Brigitte (HELEN MIRREN) — rehearsing for a play. Whit, Claire and Simon want to hire each of them (for $20k apiece) to portray Love (Amy), Time (Raffi) and Death (Brigitte) and act as Howard’s illusions in the hopes he will come to his senses. But when that doesn’t work, it’s taken to the next level and have Howard followed, digitally remove the actors and make it look like he’s crazy. With friends like these…

There’s also what writer Alan Loeb thought was some cleverness pairing each of the actors with our main characters as Whit no longer feels love, Claire wants children but feels it’s too late and poor Simon is dying. As if a dead child wasn’t enough. Grief porn indeed.

Through the movie, each of them work through their own personal issues while Howard deals with his including stopping by a support group where he “meets” Madeleine (NAOMIE HARRIS), who has lost a child of her own. I put that word in quotes because, as it turns out in a twist ending, Madeleine happens to be Howard’s ex-wife and the two act like strangers per a note he wrote her about wishing they were strangers. Kudos to them for role playing as long as they did because they meet on several occasions throughout the film.

Collateral Beauty is not only manipulative, hard not to care with a plot surrounding the death of a child, but it’s also mean-spirited with what these so-called friends put Howard through and the reason for it went beyond his health and well-being and, in fact, could’ve gone in an even darker road with making him think he was crazy. The movie can try and excuse their behavior all it wants (under the guise of saving the jobs of its employees) but any attempt at redemption of the three just didn’t wash. Then you add in an ending which makes it all the more confusing suggesting the actors portraying Love, Time and Death were in fact representatives of the trio but it puts into question how things happened before.

With this all-star ensemble, I actually didn’t think they were all that bad, just not good enough to overcome the horrendous script. Will Smith emotes the hell out of his role to the point he was almost begging to get an Oscar nomination but you can add this to the growing list of failed attempts (The Pursuit of Happiness, Seven Pounds and Concussion). For their parts, Kate Winslet and Michael Pena were fine while I can hardly say this was a top notch performance from Edward Norton. Keira Knightley and Jacob Latimore meanwhile were decent if not forgettable and Helen Mirren displays why she continuously gets Award recognition as she easily was the best of the entire bunch.

There’s no surprise why David Frankel was chosen to direct following Marley & Me, so getting upgraded from dead dog to dead child. Here, this checks down the list of clichés in the tear-jerker and if not for the motives of these “friends”, I might’ve forgiven this film’s other faults, but that one aspect did irk me. To be fair, this plot could’ve worked if it embraced being a pitch-dark comedy, kind of Bad Santa-ish. As it is, Collateral Beauty is an all around bad film that hopefully will be quickly forgotten though I suspect it will one day air on the Hallmark Channel.



This movie did so poorly it didn’t even get a slip cover… Inside is a redemption code for the Digital HD copy. The only feature included is A Modern Fable: Discovering Collateral Beauty (15:03; HD) which contains interviews with members of the cast and crew.

PreviewWonder Woman


VIDEO – 4.5/5

Collateral Beauty arrives on Blu-ray and is presented in its original 2.40 widescreen aspect ratio and a 1080p high-definition transfer. Unlike the movie, the video is pleasant enough with bright, vibrant colors (including the reds in Will Smith’s weeping eyes) and sharp-looking, well defined detail levels. There were no obvious flaws like artifacting or aliasing.

AUDIO – 4.0/5

The disc was given a standard but effective DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track which is perfectly functional considering the bulk of the movie is dialogue driven with an extra boost with the generic dramatic score. It’s nothing amazing but decent enough for a drama.


OVERALL – 1.5/5

Overall, Collateral Beauty is the epitome of what is wrong with studios today, especially considering the outright dishonest trailer they put together for this which features really unlikeable characters. The performances from Smith, Winslet, Pena and Mirren were alright at least but hardly could make up for the bad script. As for this Blu-ray, it’s basic with only a 15-minute featurette and good audio/video transfers.


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