30 May 2017 | TheLittleSongbird
Hardly an ugly duckling, lacking in too many areas to be considered a beauty
'Collateral Beauty' is one of those films that was critically derided, critical reception was not kind to it, but has garnered a more polarising reaction from people commenting on this site.
Seeing 'Collateral Beauty' without any prejudice, despite having knowledge of its negative critical reception the cast is such a great one with plenty of talented names, to me it was nowhere near as bad as critics have made out. It is a hugely flawed film and many of the critics' criticisms are on point, but there are far worse films around and is not bad enough to be one of the year's worst, it is nowhere near either among the worst work of anybody in the cast (for example Will Smith has never done a worse film than 2013's 'After Earth'). There are some good points here, that can be recognised by me, but can people seriously start expressing their opinion without resorting to critic bashing, conspiracy theories or insulting anybody with a different opinion to theirs, it is getting incredibly annoying and has gotten way out of control in the past decade.
The best thing about 'Collateral Beauty' is the cast. Will Smith is understated and stoic, but also charismatic and affecting. Helen Mirren seems to be really enjoying herself and provides a few fun quotes, while Kate Winslet, Michael Pena, Keira Knightley and Edward Norton make much of little. 'Collateral Beauty' is beautifully filmed, atmospherically lit and crisply edited, and the soundtrack is not too intrusive, nor is it too low-key to be non-descript.
Some genuinely beautiful and touching moments too, though they don't come consistently and actually come too far and between.
Unfortunately, 'Collateral Beauty' is hugely flawed. It is very muddled tonally, with what it was trying to be raising some question marks (basically a drama but it seemed to try and do other things too that didn't mesh), as a result of trying to do too much and not doing much with most of it. There are pacing issues here, due to some scenes going on for too long and a few of them being little more than filler the film does have a tendency to drag.
It was very difficult to identity with the main character's plight properly, because the character is too mysterious to the extent that he is underdeveloped and one-note. Many of the other characters are also underwritten. The script is also unfocused and sees some horrendously stilted and forced dialogue with overdone emotional moments and jarring comedic touches. The ending leaves a sour taste in the mouth, it lays it on so thick with the platitudinous schmaltz that emotionally it feels manipulative, meanwhile the final twist is laughable.
Overall, not as bad as it has been made out but hugely flawed and not a particularly good, let alone great, film. It does feel like this is going to be an unpopular review, like one going out on a limb, judging from the defensive and condescending tone of many of the positive reviews. 5/10 Bethany Cox