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Rafini's Movie Review: Collateral Beauty

Updated on December 20, 2016
Rafini profile image

Pop culture enthusiast and poet; Writer of non-fiction, personal essays and memoir.


Turning Classic Upside Down

Ever notice how Hollywood, and other powers that be, dominate the annual holiday scene with the same old classic movies and feel good Christian themes of love, family, and togetherness? While there is certainly nothing wrong with that, there are some viewers who would appreciate a new interpretation of the classic holiday themes. Collateral Beauty, directed by David Frankel, takes the classic concept and themes of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol in surprisingly new and unexpected directions.

Worth Every Penny

Shockingly, (to me anyway) at the time of this writing Collateral Beauty has only a 5.9, out of 10, star rating with IMDb from 2,393 viewers. Personally, I gave the film ten stars. Because any film structured around the holiday season without forcing Christianity front and center while delivering a gut-wrenching story of loss, grief, and the ultimate acceptance, deserves it. And because this is the first time, ever in my life, where I witnessed the audience remaining in their seats, rather than jumping up ready to leave, after the lights came on. That’s right. Everyone stayed in their seats to continue sharing the exceptional experience presented through this well-crafted film with their neighbor.

A Captivating Performance

Will Smith gives a riveting performance of a man questioning the simultaneous meanings of Love, Time, and Death after the profound loss of a child. When Love, Time and Death appear to provide answers, Smith’s character finally takes a step forward in the grieving process.


Spinning Dickens

Collateral Beauty spins the classic Dickens tale out of the preternatural ideology of ghost visitations and into the realistic creative thinking of ghosts for hire. The holidays are evident through colorful displays, and concerns of financial ruin motivate secondary characters, portrayed by Keira Knightly, Kate Winslet, and Edward Norton, into action. Their choices spark an emotional reaction from Smith’s character that the audience can’t help but experiencing right along with him.

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A New Classic?

As I dried my eyes during the closing credits, I realized I had something I rarely had after watching a film. I had hope. Hope, and expectation, that Collateral Beauty will become the next classic holiday film everyone will line up to see during the last few weeks of every year.

© 2016 Rafini


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