Even after the movie ended, I still did not get the meaning of collateral beauty, the phrase which was told to a mother as she prepares for the death of her six-year-old daughter. Do you define collateral beauty as the precious gift who was pledged to the mother as security but is now forfeited?
Will Smith is wonderful in this movie. He starts the movie with the opening of his advertising agency by asking his staff, What is your why? Why did you get up this morning? Why did you eat the breakfast or chose the clothes you are wearing? We’re here to connect. Love. Time. Death. We long for love, we wish we have more time and we fear death. I turned to my movie companion and asked her, So what is your why? So many of us go through life with no purpose in mind.
Three years later, after the death of his six year old daughter Olivia, this was exactly how Howard is living. Now divorced and living aimlessly, his partner Whit, staff Claire and Simon watch with concern as the agency loses business. A proposal to buy over prompt the three to act.
They hire a private investigator to follow Howard, and discover that he has written letters to Time, Love and Death, lamenting and chastising them for his loss. They then decide to hire actors to play the Time, Love and Death, hoping to show the lawyer that Howard – who has been ignoring the proposal – is not in the right frame of mind, in order for them to sell the agency.
Yet the actors hired to play Death, Love and Time also manage to transfer some wisdom to the three.
Simon is battling last stage cancer but hasn’t told his wife. Brigitte, who is Death, tells him, you are living well but not dying well.
Claire, who has treated the company as her family and misses a chance to start her own, learns from Raffi- Time, that one doesn’t necessary need to be a mother to her own offspring.
And Amy- Love, tells Simon – whose daughter hates him for being a philanderer and breaking up the family – that he doesn’t need his daughter’s permission to love and see her, and to try to win back her love.
And Howard, after meeting who he thinks is Love, Time and Death, faces up to his daughter’s death.
I am amazed how Will Smith, whom I thought has the most mischievous pair of eyes (like in Man in Black), now possesses the saddest eyes I have seen. How do you even use your eyes to act?
So, what is your why?