Containing but a single special feature, the Blu-ray of the David Frankel film Collateral Beauty arrives on March 14th with a relative absence of fanfare. Collateral Beauty was a critical and commercial disappointment, though there are elements of an interesting narrative in this title, but they are repeatedly buried under an avalanche of well-intentioned but nonsensical main plots.
The largest misstep is a focus on a catatonic Will Smith (playing a character named Howard, but really just being a toned-down Will Smith), playing a role that seems recycled from his work in The Pursuit of Happyness (or Adam Sandler in Reign Over Me). His work is mostly opposite Naomie Harris in a twist that should be obvious to anybody who has seen Certified Copy, or who has watched a movie start to finish, and somehow manages to make the now popular subject of child death seem insensitive. Naomie Harris (Moonlight) is almost entirely wasted in the film, which is a shame as she is a great actress.
Also faring less than well are the strange pairing of Michael Peña and Helen Mirren in another under-baked trope, Ann Dowd in a role that should be quite obvious, and Keira Knightley in a strange liaison with Edward Norton (who apparently ordered a script rewrite). The less said about Jacob Latimore as Time, the better. Faring best is Norton paired with his on-screen daughter Allison (Kylie Rogers), who work in a Hamilton reference for good measure. It is essentially an Oscar movie that just does not quite work, and perhaps would have worked in the hands of a more capable director or with a working script that didn’t telegraph every twist.
The singular special feature on the disc, A Modern Fable: Discovering Collateral Beauty, features the principals talking about how this movie is a fable, which is perhaps the intention, and provides some clarity but should have gone towards matching the vision to the execution.
Overall Brief Take
There’s a lot of collateral damage, but not a lot of collateral beauty here.
Collateral Beauty is available now on Digital HD and comes to Blu-ray on March 14th.