What with Netflix and Amazon Prime you really don’t need a film review on that very Friday the movie releases. That’s why I thought it would still be worthwhile talking about Collateral Beauty a heavily star-laden film I saw a couple of months ago.

CB4The cast is stellar: two Oscar winners – Kate Winslet and Helen Mirren, and four Oscar nominees –  Will SmithEdward NortonNaomie Harris and Keira Knightley. What could go wrong? But check reviews on the net and most critics have completely nixed the movie, the cast, the plot, and poor Will Smith has been accused of navel-gazing and constipation.

I won’t be so harsh. Trust me! There are the good bits. I found collateral beauty in Collateral Beauty!

Collateral-Beauty-DominoesIn my opinion the film started off well. (Honestly, you had me at advertising agency!) The plot revolves around Howard (Will Smith) the owner of a successful ad agency who has suffered trauma and now has completely withdrawn –spending days carefully arranging his dominoes. His outlet is writing letters – to Love, Time and Death. And as the plot unfolds he ‘meets’ them – an ingenious plot hatched by his three partners at the agency.

So, what’s to like?

While Will Smith rants and raves and comes to terms with each of the entities, in a subtle manner, three sub-plots unfold. What starts out as a staged personification of Love, Time and Death becomes in effect the reflection of each of the other three characters. As Will searches for answers the other three characters – Whit (Edward Norton), Claire (Kate Winslet) and Simon (Michael Pena) come to face their own demons of Love, Time and Death. A fitting answer to their fictitious creations becoming their own reality.

(What took away from the entire build up was the end as we realize that the support group leader is Will’s wife – and we are supposed to be weeping buckets. But critics have said enough about that!)

And then I found something else – the music (always the music!) – especially three songs that haunted me for days after I saw the movie.

First it started with a Kaleo song – Way down we go – such a powerful song
Then it added one more to the mix. Looking too closely by FinkCB2And the final one that was used in the creds. Not only is that a great song by One Republic but it has a fascinating story to tell.

So, here’s the song: Let’s hurt tonight 
And here’s the fascinating story of how it came to be part of the film.

And that is where I found the collateral beauty in Collateral Beauty.