Time + Love + Death = Collateral Beauty —> Life
Yeah, the word ‘death’ in the above equation is scary. But in the movie, Collateral Beauty, death personified by Helen Mirren, well, does not look scary at all and looks pretty realistic. And Death does not necessarily mean someone is dying. It could be a habit dying, it could be death of an ever regretting past, it could be…moving on finally, yes along with time and love, which makes you realize and feel the Collateral Beauty.
Collateral Beauty is a beautiful movie, a different concept supported by an amazing cast.
A story of an Ad man – Howard (Will Smith) – as a successful advertising agency founder along with friends – Whit (Edward Norton), Simon (Michael Pena) and Claire (Kate Winslet) until a few years later, after death of his six year old kid, turns into a recluse indulged in domino art, now not being a part of the agency and at the same time refusing to merge the agency with Omnicom—a strategic move which can secure the agency and its employees. Whit-Simon-Claire are struggling to maintain big clients, while negotiating terms and time with Omnicom deal to finalize, which is impossible without Howard’s signatures.
So how to you do it – by hiring a spy to follow Howard and notice an abnormal behavior. Mental sanctity is essential to sign any legal document, and if one looses it, then one is not eligible to vote or finalize a deal. Whit-Simon-Claire plan to prove the latter so as to finalize the deal. And to their luck, the spy finds three of the Howard letters addressed to Time, Love and Death – the three elements he believed were essence of life and of any successful promotional activity.
Whit – divorced due to infidelity and now struggling to prove a good father to his daughter, who hates him – now stays with his mother suffering from Alzheimer’s comes up with an idea while having a chat with his mom in one of her relapse episodes.
The idea is to personify Time-Love-Death through actors and make each of them talk with Howard.
Time: A young energetic man (Jacob Latimore) guided by Claire, who herself is struggling with time and her ticking biological clock.
Love – A beautiful young woman (Keira Knightley) directed by Whit, whose daughter refuses to meet him at all, while he struggles to express his love for her.
Death – A gracefully ageing lady (Helen Mirren) led by Simon, who has a few more days left before he is consumed by malignancy, something which no one besides him knows, not even his wife.
Each of the character, in first round, meets with Howard. Howard listens but still no major change visible in his behavior. The next plan is to record Howard’s interaction with the seemingly invisible Time-Love-Death and demonstrate his abnormal behaviour to the board to make the deal happen.
In this duration Howard starts visiting the group where parents who have lost their children meet to grieve and to cope up with the loss—so does Madeleine (Naomie Harris) – later revealed as Mrs. Inlet—who tries her best to comfort yet support Howard in his grief.
Finally the board meeting day arrives with no visible change in Howard’s behavior. The video is shown, Howard is questioned, Whit-Simon-Claire take the responsibility of their acts, ask for forgiveness for their behavior; but Howards is not upset with them, he signs the papers and calls it the right choice, while tells each one of them that he knows what is going on in their lives and forgives them.
Whit-Simon-Claire all the while think they are guiding the three actors, while in reality Time-Love-Death – all three where guiding them to make the right choice in life, and help them notice the Collateral Beauty in their lives. How? For that you will have to watch the movie.
Movie is slow, but the concept is unique. Each one of us, some time in our lives, have lost someone, something. They say ‘Whatever happens, happens for good.’ And that ‘good’ is the ‘Collateral Beauty.’ We may have experienced it, but we either miss it or refuse to acknowledge it, and thus, many a times never get the so called closure and the past keeps haunting us and has a domino effect in life when the present becomes a curse, and the future, a blurred vision. In life everything is a lesson. Learn it and move on. Easier said than done. But Life moves on, never stops, and so should each one of us. Time-Love-Death, none ever to be taken for granted because together they make us what we are today.
My favourite dialogues (as far as I can remember, not an exact word to word narration)…
“We’re here to connect. Love, time, death. Now these three things connect every single human being on earth. We long for love, we wish we had more time, and we fear death.”
“…you are taking from them a chance to say good bye.”
“I’m time. I’m a gift, and you’re wasting it.”
“A child does not have to come from you, but go through you.”
“Love became me.”
“I’m love. I’m the fabric of life. Don’t try and live without me.”
“Love, I was there in her laugh, but I’m also here now in your pain.”
“Just be sure to notice the Collateral Beauty.”
Image Source: https://www.facebook.com/CollateralBeauty/