If you’re looking for a feel good movie for the holidays, get yourself a ticket to Collateral Beauty. The film is surprisingly uplifting, especially given that it’s basically a story of grief and the unexpected experiences that come with it. Will Smith plays Howard, a New York City marketing whiz who turns away from his business – and life itself — after losing his six year-old daughter.
Smith plays the central role with an interesting mix of sorrow, numbness and seething anger, and he’s superbly matched by the film’s fine ensemble cast. His co-workers are played by Kate Winslet who gives her underwritten character, Claire, a sensitive likability and Edward Norton who somehow makes his philandering divorcee, Whit, sympathetic. There’s also Michael Peña who’s low-key delivery of Simon provides a great foil for the movie’s rambunctious stand out, Helen Mirren.
The story has some interesting turns and revelations that I don’t want to spoil for you, so let’s just say that Howard’s co-workers find a unique way to get him to delve deeply into the biggest themes of life: time, love and death.
Keira Knightly, Helen Mirren, Jacob Latimore and Naomie Harris play colorful characters that draw Howard back into the stream of life with all it’s possibilities, pain and unexpected beauty.
There are several side stories inside the main one that flesh out the spiritual themes and make this film move surprisingly quickly. Norton’s Whit is trying to win back the affection of his young daughter who blames him for the divorce, Winslet’s workaholic, Claire, longs to have a baby, Pena’s Simon wants to protect his wife and child, and Harris’s Madeleine is coping with the loss of her own daughter.
In an age where many films fall flat in the end, I felt that Howard’s story was cathartic, because it delivered what we all expect from a good film — character growth and a little surprise.
It feels fitting that Collateral Beauty is being released during the holidays, as it has that look-closer-at-your-life quality that was first made popular by Charles Dicken’s “A Christmas Carol” and then echoed by Frank Capra’s, “It’s a Wonderful Life.”
In this age of action-packed films, it’s rare to find a movie that is soul-packed and still highly entertaining. Collateral Beauty fits the bill. It’s a lovely ode to living life more meaningfully, and making the most of whatever life gives us — or takes away.
Vicki Howie is the Co-Editor of Conscious Life News and the Host of the Conscious Life Awakened Speaker Series. She is also the creator of Chakra Boosters Healing Tattoos™ and Chakra Love. Grab your free copy of her Heart Chakra Healing Song here.