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Will Smith as Howard. Picture: © 2016 WARNER BROS.

I have yet to come across a decent review of David Frankel’s Will Smith vehicle, Collateral Beauty, but it’s one of the best feel-good films in decades. It’s also one of Smith’s best performances, one that should be nominated for an Oscar.

The story intertwines around Howard (Smith) who is retreating from life after a tragedy. Howard is a successful New York advertising executive, whose friends try to desperately reconnect with him. But Howard wants to be left alone and writes letters to Love, Time and Death. Through the letters, he experiences unexpected encounters.


Edward Norton plays Whit, one of Howard’s friends, employees and students. He plays the role well. In fact, the whole ensemble cast from Kate Winslet (Claire) to Michael Peña (Simon), Helen Mirren (Brigitte) and Naomie Harris (Madeleine) are phenomenal.

Cinematographer Maryse Alberti’s camerawork adds a layer of red for desperation and love, and even the headlights of a car shine yellow when they’re needed for hope. The bokeh in close-up shots is stunning.

The film is written by Allan Loeb not known for me from much but, goddamn, the script is good. It’s hard to describe the feeling when the plot hits you in the head with a twist unexpectedly (A rare treat these days.)

You just have to watch it.

Collateral Beauty premieres in cinemas December 28.