Movie Review: Collateral Beauty (2016) Sure is Ugly


Collateral Beauty (2016)

Genre: Drama, Fantasy

Starring: Will Smith, Helen Mirren, Edward Norton, Kate Winslet, Michael Pena, Keira Knightly, Jacob Latimore

IMDb: 6.8 of 50,000 (Normally, I agree with IMDb about how good or bad a film is. However, this is not one of those times.)

After a terrible tragedy, a charismatic businessman withdraws from the world. He lashes out at Death, Time, and Love.  Unexpectedly, he gets answers back.

What I Didn’t Like

That plot is somewhat deceptive. What happens is something far more cruel. I can understand aspects of why these individuals did what they did, but I don’t have to like it. Given other ways the film could have gone about things, this was among the most dismal.

Let’s be honest, it is borrowing heavily from Charles Dickens A Christmas Carol where a business man is met by three apparitions.

For a film taking place around Christmas Time with elements of Dickens, you would think it would be a bit more lively and interesting. This film has the potential to be inspiring. The film that our society needs in this lost era, yet it fails. It goes in an melodramatic and overtly depressing direction.  It constantly beats you down with depressing ideas.  Every time there is a glimmer of hope or a profound message, it is fleeting. This doesn’t inspire, it tortures to human spirit.

The plot twists in this movie are predictable. There was one that took some time, but I figured it out before it occurred.

The movie isn’t much beyond ninety minutes, but it felt like shortly over two hours long. It really drags down the pacing at times.

I found all the actors in this to be serviceable. With the exception of Hellen Mirren, I didn’t think anyone impressed.

What I Liked

Again, all the acting in this film is fine.  I liked Will Smith’s character enough, but I wanted to know more. I wanted to put the pieces together in a less abstract manner.

Helen Mirren was lovely as she often is.  She brought by far the most life to this film. (Which is ironic given she plays Death.)

The ideas present in this film are worthy of exploration. They are very important for this time in our society and should be given far greater time.  I understand you don’t want to get too preachy about your message, but there is a middle ground they could have gone for.



I found the last ten-fifteen minutes the most satisfying.  I wished the rest of the movie was like that.

There are definitely aspects in the directing that I can appreciate. Subtle things were done quite clever and made the film more watchable.


The film itself isn’t terrible. The acting is decent to good, the director has a message in mind that is worth investigating. (Self-exploration may lead to self-fulfillment.) However, considering the subject matter. It had the potential to be both emotionally investing and inspiring, and yet it wasn’t. All the pieces come together, but it lacks the heart and thoughtfulness it deserves.

The Ladder (Christmas Movies)

A Christmas Carol (1984)

Scrooged (1987)

Noel (2004)

Collateral Beauty (2016)


3 thoughts on “Movie Review: Collateral Beauty (2016) Sure is Ugly

  1. I’ll watch anything with Will Smith, though the trailer for this one never quite clicked with me. What really makes me more interested in it than anything is how everyone talks about how misleading the trailer is. The movie sounds pretty depressing, but considering how much I enjoyed Seven Pounds and The Pursuit of Happyness, I think I should probably still give this one a chance. Sorry you didn’t like it much, Andrew. When I inevitably watch it, I’ll let you know what I think. Was this one on Amazon Prime, by chance?

    Liked by 1 person

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