Retreating from life after a tragedy, a man 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.
When a successful New York advertising executive suffers a great tragedy he retreats from life. While his concerned friends try desperately to reconnect with him, he seeks answers from the universe by writing letters to Love, Time and Death. But it’s not until his notes bring unexpected personal responses that he begins to understand how these constants interlock in a life fully lived, and how even the deepest loss can reveal moments of meaning and beauty.
Will Smith’s Collateral Beauty bombed badly at the box office this weekend, but not for a lack of star power. Besides Smith, Edward Norton, Kate Winslet, Helen Mirren, Keira Knightley, Michael Pena, and Naomie Harris all have significant roles in this overwrought drama. Big names might get the average moviegoer to consider your release, but there’s one other element that’s necessary to ensure a financial or critical success: your movie has to be good.
Collateral Beauty is not good. It’s needlessly complicated, treats its audience like it’s dumber than a box full of unused Fox network reality show pitches, and totally wastes Will Smith in a dull tearjerker that elicits absolutely zero tears, except the ones you will shed when you realized you wasted your hard-earned money on Collateral Beauty.
Let’s start with the obvious. If the plot of a Will Smith movie sounds kind of like Seven Pounds, you know trouble is a-brewin’. Seven Pounds is, of course, the movie where a grief-stricken Will Smith commits suicide by sharing a bathtub with a jellyfish. In that film, sad Will Smith spends the entire runtime atoning for killing someone while driving and texting. It’s po-faced, grim and dull. Just like Collateral Beauty it has a needlessly convoluted plot.