We all know Charles Dickens’ classic tale the Christmas Carol and all the lessons it teaches this time of season. It’s a story that has been told through many mediums that continue to entertain the masses. This weekend, we get a similar tale to grace the theater entitled Collateral Beauty starring Will Smith and a slew of other characters. The question is though, does this twist work? Hi Robbie K here, privileged to share some thoughts on another movie. Shall we get started?
- Fantastic Acting
- Equal Screen Time
- Good use of Music
- Fantastic morals
With a star, studded cast that includes Will Smith, Kate Winslet, Hellen Mirren, and Edward Norton you expected good acting. Well good news, the acting met the expectations placed on the cast. Smith of course takes the lead, delivering another grand performance of someone suffering in life (7 pounds and pursuit of happiness). He sells the anger and hurt, while maintaining his emotional balance to prevent falling into overacting territory. Edward Norton, again delivers a sound performance and probably has the most diverse energy of the cast. Newcomer Jacob Lattimore surprised me with his performance, which although a little skewed, had the teenage angst and aggression representative of time. But the champion actor is Helen Mirren, who continues to prove that age brings experience. Mirren was the funniest of the group, but managed to sell the morals of the movie the most without going too far. She engages so well with the entire cast, and does a good job as the keystone of the movie…you know past Will Smith. The entire group again does a fantastic job altogether, and even better are all balanced through the movie, each member getting close to equal time (which is sometimes unheard of).
While the acting certainly helps make the story come to life, the editing of the movie helped amplify the emotions of the film. The cinematography is beautifully executed, combining the enchanting scenery with the raw pain of our suffering characters. You’ll get plenty of close ups on tear stricken faces and troubled stares as our characters face the ordeals at hand. But it’s the background symphony music, that helps add that edge to get the tears flowing. Beautiful piano work helps sell the scene, subtle at times before unleashing its full power as the lessons are learned. The culmination of audio and visual are fantastic tools to seal the deal for the morals this film has to offer. And speaking of morals, the writers did a nice job twisting the tale to focus on dealing with life’s problems. Aside from Will Smith’s trial of accepting his daughter’s death, the other characters each have their own trials to face that involve self-assessment, acceptance, and a willingness to try and make things better. Preachy as it can be, these important lessons are taught with the fantastic lines and strong acting premise.
- Not as deep as I thought
- Felt Incomplete
- More spirit interventions would have been nice
Despite all the good I reported, Collateral Beauty still has some rough edges that need some smoothing out. For one thing, I felt there could have been more emotional punch to this film. I felt the lessons in my heart, but I wasn’t borderline crying in this film. It felt like they held back on the emotional punch. Whether this is due to some production quirks, some shallower plots, or the fact that the trailer delivered much of the film could have diluted it. The movie also felt incomplete at parts, as if other scenes were needed or perhaps scenes deleted to take out the incomplete feeling.
In addition, the movie is a bit lackluster from the various tellings of the Christmas Carol. This film doesn’t have the terror or suspense that Dickens’ three spirits contain, although they are much more entertaining. This movie, despite teaching values, was just not as unique as I think it wanted to be. There were no grandiose twists, no outstanding spirit designs, and no key features to help make this movie stand out from similar morale tales. I think I also wanted more spiritual interventions as well, another round to drive the point home to Howard.
Collateral Beauty is certainly an example of great acting, as our stars have incredible chemistry, integrate through most of the movie, and have the emotional balance we would want in such a cast. In addition, the morals are taught well thanks to the strong dialogue and wonderful audio/visual techniques to amplify the emotions. However, there was something missing that just didn’t make this movie as emotionally deep as I expected. Still, this is a movie that will move many and a good, fun movie for the holiday season. Is it needed to be seen in the big screen? When looking at the technical qualities and the unique aspect of the film…no this movie is worth a Redbox rent. However, in regards to the moral lessons and heartfelt story, this one is worth a visit.
My scores are:
Movie Overall: 6.5