“….just be sure to notice the Collateral Beauty”.
That is just one of my favourite lines from this film I watched recently (after months of postponement) and it might just be my pick for the most powerful thing I’ve heard in a long while. The main theme of Collateral Beauty is centred around loss and the plot is based on a man who loses his child and has been struggling to cope ever since. He lets his frustration out by building dominoes and writing letters to the cosmic elements, Love, Time and Death, venting and letting his anger out on them. It’s an averagely powerful film that’ll appeal to your emotional senses and a bit of your intellect as well but the thing that had me completely is the wording and the conversational elements of this film.
Beauty in pain.
‘Collateral Beauty’ as is the title of the film, is based on the thought that there’s beauty in pain. Pain, after all, is a recurrent theme and a permanent fixture of life and we all go through it, on an almost everyday basis, albeit in varying degrees and extents. It is something that we have to get used to and learn to deal with from very early on in our lives. Loss, arguably the most intense and severe form of pain, is the main theme of the film and it will almost move you to tears watching Howard (the main protagonist of the film, played by Will Smith) deal with the loss of his child and how he later comes to appreciate the beauty in the pain, as he grows out of his depression and angry slump and learns how to live and how to love again.
Love is the fabric of life.
Love is love, and love is pain. Love is the fabric of life and without love, nothing else can exist. Love (played by Keira Knightley) meets a broken Howard who’s angry and unforgiving towards her for breaking his heart when his child dies. Love, as we come to learn later on as the film unfolds, is much more than just the ‘good sunshine feeling’, love is pain, and loss and sacrifice and suffering and forgiveness and a whole lot of work. There’s more to love than just the skipping of hearts and the wanting to sing from rooftops, love is much deeper and complex than that. Nonetheless, love is still love and nothing can exist outside of it, as Howard later finds out in the film.
We’re all connected.
We’re all infinitely connected. Love. Time. Death. The three elements that connect us all. We all want to be loved, we all wish we had more time and we all fear death. This film shows that we’re all that much alike, as different as we could be from each other, from the colour of our skin to the place where we were born, to the values that we were brought up with, to the religion that we belong to, we’re all alike. We all feel love, we all experience loss, we all go through pain. We’re all infinitely connected and this film manages to bring that out in a well and a neatly packaged way through the interwoven stories of a group of people all struggling, consciously and subconsciously, with different things and how they ultimately get a new lease on life through their interactions with the three cosmic elements.
Despite the stellar cast, that includes names like Will Smith, Edward Norton, Naomi Harris, Keira Knightly, Hellen Mirren, Michael Pena, Jacob Latimore and so on, the biggest selling point of this film is the storyline and not the hard-hitting individual performances that you would expect after reading the cast list (although Will Smith does give an incredible individual performance in this film). The raw emotion of loss, pain, grief, fear, anger, love, healing and hope that form the story, will almost leave you broken yourself as most of these characters’ stories are relatable from a real life standpoint.
It’s not the kind of film that will blow your mind away but it will give you a new lease on life, especially when it comes to dealing with matters loss, grief, anger, pain, love, healing and letting go. Good watch, generally.