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Collateral Beauty: Movie Review

Hannah Goodwyn


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Collateral Beauty is the feel-bad movie of the season. Really. Most of the film is quite depressing.

A drama centered on a father's debilitating grief and his friends' misguided attempts to help him does everything in its power to make you cry. You can't ignore the real emotion Will Smith and cast bring to the screen.

At the same time, it feels overdone. Collateral Beauty features a mixed bag of characters -- all played by superb actors in their own right.

Slow to start, the film does pack an emotional punch (more midway through to the credits, than at the beginning). Set up to throw a twist or two at you, the David Frankel-directed film isn't as surprising as maybe hoped -- save a major reveal at the end.

Smith reprises his The Pursuit of Happyness downtrodden dad look in Collateral Beauty as Howard, a once happy family man and successful NYC ad agency co-owner. But, the death of his six-year-old girl wrecks him. He withdraws from work, from his wife, and from life. He barely speaks or interacts with anyone. Still, he's desperate to communicate. So, he begins writing letters to what he thinks are the only three things that connect us all -- love, time, and death. Little did he know they'd answer back.

Collateral Beauty's message is one of universal connectedness. Howard says, we all "long for love, wish we have more time, and fear death." It's on these universally connecting themes that the movie's story plots along. Some of what's said is intrigiuing, but not as impactful as it tries to be. This is true even of the dialogue attempting to explain the movie's title.

Rated PG-13 for thematic elements and brief strong language (including an F-bomb), Collateral Beauty is for the older among us. Caution is advised when it comes to kids. It's a hefty one, so children won't want to see it anyway.

Though Collateral Beauty has a seasonal release date and its story is set partly at Christmas, it's not what most would call a great holiday movie. The potential was there. It just didn't find it.

Note: For a more faith-based take on how to cope with grief, perhaps Lionsgate's upcoming release based on William P. Young's The Shack will do the trick. It releases in March 2017.

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About The Author


Hannah Goodwyn served as a Senior Producer for, managing and writing for the award-winning website. After her undergraduate studies at Christopher Newport University, Hannah went on to study Journalism at the graduate level. In 2005, she graduated summa cum laude with her Master's from Regent University and was honored with an Outstanding Student Award. From there, Hannah began work as a content producer for For ten years, she acted as the managing producer for the website's Family and Entertainment sections. A movie buff, Hannah felt right at home working as's