Monday, January 9, 2017

Collateral Beauty is manipulative and sappy with fortune cookie wisdom, but still got me to cry

Movie Title:  Collateral Beauty

Grade:  B+

Rating: PG-13, 94 minutes

In a Nutshell: I really love two-time Oscar nominee Will Smith and I was so excited to see this film after the trailer practically had me in tears.   SPOILER:  The trailer is a bit deceiving.  The film isn’t quite what you think it’s going to be.

For that and other reasons, a lot of film critics are ripping this emotional drama to shreds, stating that it’s manipulative and overly sappy with fortune cookie wisdom.  Well, I agree that it may be all of those things, but I also think they’re missing an opportunity to reflect inward and learn some of the life lessons this insightful film attempts to teach us.

What would you say if you could talk to Time, Death, and Love?  An even more interesting question is what would they say to you?

Uplifting theme: 
  • ‘Just be sure to notice the collateral beauty.  It is the profound connection to everything.” – Madeline (Naomie Harris)
  • “What is your why?” – Howard (Will Smith)
  • “We’re here to connect.  Life is about people.” – Howard
  • “We don’t get to choose who we love and who loves us back.” – Whit (Edward Norton)
  • “Tomorrow’s not promised.” – Howard
  • “Your children don’t have to come from you; they come through you.” – Time

Things I liked:
  • The performances are really great.  I love the entire cast.
  • Will Smith digs deep for his performance that only a father in real life could do.  Did you know he has won 4 Grammy Awards?  He has been nominated for 5 Golden Globe Awards and 2 Academy Awards, but he hasn’t won those big boys yet. Surprising, right?  Everyone loves him.  He should have won an Oscar for The Pursuit Of Happyness.  His performance in Concussion was outstanding, but he lost to Leonardo DiCaprio in The Revenant, which I can’t disagree with.  I mean, DiCaprio practically blew himself up, ate a live fish, and got beat to a pulp, for heaven's sake!
  • Academy Award winner Helen Mirren is a national treasure.  I adore her. She just looked stunning in those blue feathers. She had some great lines and provided some depth and comic relief.  I love her in everything.

  • There is an interesting Domino metaphor.
  • It cracked me up that Howard’s friends hired a private investigator who they said looked like a “Mormon grandmother.”  Well, I’m a Mormon and can tell you that not all Mormon grandmothers look like that, but she really did.  Ha ha
  • I’ve been to New York City twice before, but never during the Christmas season.  It looks so magical in December.
  • Brigitte mentioned the movie Gaslight   Have you seen it?  I haven't either.  I'm going to have to add that one to my list. 
  • Madeline tells Howard that 79% of couples divorce after losing a child.  According to a recent study by at Montana State University-Billings, that’s pretty accurate, sadly.
  • There’s a twist.  I love twists.  Well actually, it’s more of an unveiling.  Still, it worked for me and drew out the expected tears that director David Frankel had intended.
  • If you're looking for a therapeutic film about losing a loved one, adult or child, I highly recommend A Monster Calls, which is also currently in theaters.

Things I didn’t like:
  • Would you want such manipulative friends who go to such great lengths to prove that you’re crazy?
  • We never really get to see a happy Will Smith with his daughter, so we feel less invested in them than if there had been some happy flashbacks or something.
  • Well, yeah…it’s manipulative on every level.  Some people don’t mind that.
  • We saw a softer side of Michael Pena as Simon.  His story line seemed extra contrived just so Death could make a point about something (although her point was a good one.)
  • This incredibly talented ensemble’s talent was appreciated and enjoy, but mostly under-utilized.

Interesting lines:
  • “We long for love, we wish we had more time, we fear death.” = Howard
  • “This doesn’t feel right.” – Claire (Kate Winslet)
“I know, but when everything starts with a 6 year old dying, nothing is gonna feel right.” - Simon (Michael Pena)
  • “Life is found when you shed your skin…..OR Shed your skin; find your life.” = Amy
  • “I’m trying to fix my mind.”  Howard
“You lost a child, Howard.  It’ll never be fixed.” – Madeline

Profound lines about Love:
  • “I realize that I wasn’t feeling love.  I was becoming love.” – Whit
  • “I am the only why.  Please don’t try to live without me.” – Love
  • “I’m the fabric of life.” – Love
  • “I was there in her love, but I’m still here in your pain.” - Love
  • “I’m love…the very fabric of life.” – Love  
  • “Love is the reason for everything.” – Love

Profound lines about Death:
  • “Nothing’s ever really dead if you look at it right.” – Brigitte
  • “Death is so much more vital than time. Death gives time its value.” – Death
  • “You’re dying?” – Death
“Everyone’s dying.” – Simon
  • “You lived right, my friend, but you’re not dying right.” –  

Profound lines about Time:
  • “I’m abundant.  I’m a gift.” – Time

Funny lines:
  • “I have depth.  We’ve discussed this.” – Whit
  • “The word you’re looking for is philanderer, not philanthropist.  They have a slightly different meaning.” – Whit
  • “I thought you can’t afford therapy anymore.” – Claire
“I can’t.  It’s my Uber driver.” – Whit

Tips for parents: 

  • Talk of sex, cancer, death.
  • 1 F-bomb and some other profanity.
  • Children may be bored with this “talking” movie and certainly won't appreciate any of its profound truths, unless they have been through their own dark challenges.
Post a Comment