Collateral Beauty

Writing MovieWRONGS

By Jim West

Collateral Beauty

Directed by David Frankel

Written by Allan Loeb

Why was this movie made and scheduled for a holiday release?  With a plot that if portrayed straightforward would be just an hour plus of crying, it tries to be uplifting, but instead still depresses you along the way even more.

If you intend to write a depressing tear inducing drama, then write a depressing tear inducing drama.  If you intend to write something uplifting write that.  With this cast it is ridiculous that the script completely ruined this film.  Spoilers coming.

The film opens with Will Smith’s advertising speech and quickly establishes the core concepts of the films idea of time, love, and death.  Then suddenly we are thrown 3 years later and we are staring at a depressed Will Smith and quickly told by supporting characters that he lost his daughter.  In writing it is crucial to show the action with words over dialogue, and here the screenwriters completely bundled an opportunity in their dream sequence when Will’s character is sleeping.  What they should have done is shown him spinning his daughter around by her hands and then show him holding her hand while she is dying in the hospital.  That would be a dream turned nightmare and allow the viewers to connect better with him emotionally.  Now the initial meet-up between Ed Norton’s character and Keira Knightly is completely ridiculous.  The writers wanted to walk the line between whether or not these people representing the three ideals of love, time, and death are real actors or just the embodiment of those ideals themselves.  Trust me they ruined that as well.  Instead have Keira’s character be real.  Have her be there for that audition, and then during realizing she is late for another appointment.  Then carry that onward.  The fact the three supporting friends and coworkers of Will Smith each are facing one of those ideals themselves in life is a good plot point, but keep the actors real people.  Don’t take the film to a place where disbelief has to be spent dealing with a very real subject matter.  Now I do like the reveal of the ex-wife, and mother of the child lost to Will Smith’s character.  Yet there are moments where it could have been handled slightly better, but I won’t knock the writers too hard on that.  Yet the ending does not completely bow tie the other three supporting characters and the three ideals on the bridge at the end was complete nonsense.  Ed Norton is completely wasted talent in this film.  Best acting was done by Michael Pena, Jacob Latimore, and Helen Mirren.  They are supporting cast and easily out-shined the rest due to material from script given.  The writers choose to use end of film flashbacks to fill us in, but by this time of the film the viewers are all just emotionally disconnected.  To correct this show parts of these flashbacks sooner in the film…the dream scene…and then finish the flashbacks with the rest of the memories of the mother in them.  Also, Helen Mirren being ‘death’ as the old lady who spoke to the mom in the hospital hallway was not needed in this film at all.  Again keep these characters real people.  That would have collaterally made this film more beautiful.

Thanks for reading Writing Movie ‘WRONGS’. 

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