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dream_weaver

Collateral Beauty (with spoilers)

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Since art is a philosophical composite, it is not a contradiction to say: "This is a great work of art, but I don't like it." — The Romantic Manifesto, pg. 43

Collateral Beauty.

Ok. I don't know about it being a great work of art. I enjoyed it, esp. from the standpoint of concretizing between the abstract and the concrete.

Howard (played by Will Smith) opens with a celebratory business oration that creates a stage for the abstractions of love, time, and death. After the tragic loss of Howard's daughter, fast forward to the successful company imploding due to Howard's inability to deal with the loss.

By this time, Howard has written three letters addressed to "Time", "Love", and "Death", as revealed by a private investigator retained by one of his partners to look for evidence of incompetence.

Three thespians are retained by the partners to 'answer' Howard's letters in person. As it turns out, the three partners are dealing with life issues that deal with "time", "love", and "death". An added layer of complexity is added to the plot.

Going one layer of complexity deeper, Howard's ex-wife had met the character playing "Death" in the hospital while their 6 year old daughter passes away from a rare disease, passing on a tidbit about looking for 'collateral beauty' in the aftermath.

 

Each of Howard's three other partners are entangled with the thespian representing the area of life with which they struggle.

Whit, with the relationship to his daughter in the paradigm of a divorces gets matched with "Love".
Simone, with the resurgence of a disease in his life gets paired with "Death".
Claire got matched with "Time", albeit the connection had something to do with having children in the future.

So, yes, I found it to be a good work of art, albeit, the focus on negative aspects of life put it more on the dark-side, philosophically.

If you watched the Pixar flick "Robot", it would be hard to watch Collateral Beauty and not see a connection expounded on. relative to Bigweld in Pixar's "Robots".

 

So yes, I think it is a good work of art, but there are elements I don't like.

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I saw this on your suggestion in this thread. I liked it.

True, the theme of the movie is death of a loved one and resulting need to move on in life. I would not characterize this as focusing on the negative. Rather, the recurring idea is that the negative elements in life don't need to dominate anyone's thoughts - not even Howard's. If this were philosophically dark, Howard would not have gotten better, or perhaps he'd come to "love" death. That's not how the plot progressed.

Although part of the idea is that there's beauty in death, but that's only the explicit philosophy. Consider how Rand, in her intro to Ninety-Three, said she stood against Hugo's explicit philosophy, yet his implicit philosophy as seen in his writing was deeply good and sought the best in man. I don't like the title at all, but it's not hard to see that the actions of all the characters in the end lead to living life better. No one was glued to their past in the end.

It's a short and to-the-point movie. Worth watching.

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I have yet to finish the novel Ninety-Three. The references to both the landscape, events, and the vernacular of the time have me looking up terminology to make sense of the passages. I did enjoy the description of the "loose cannon" and the subsequent resolve that came from it. I've not come across a better explanation of a "loose cannon" elsewhere.

Your alternative offered to my "philosophically dark" will put that "Collateral Damage" back into the queue to be reviewed again.

Off the cuff, it had more to do with bringing in the intervening forces (the three thespians, in this case) to elucidate on the particular matters. One could argue that that the interactions with the other (often villainous) principles in Atlas Shrugged gave Dagny Taggart and Hank Rearden deeper insights into the issues they were struggling to grasp. The 'darker' side, as I perceive it here, then, would be the greater weight being placed on the thespian roles as playing the bigger influence on the principles in Collateral Beauty, while Rand tended to put the onus of any discoveries more directly on Dagny or Hank. 

1 hour ago, Eiuol said:

It's a short and to-the-point movie. Worth watching.

I didn't say this directly, but I do concur.

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16 hours ago, dream_weaver said:

I have yet to finish the novel Ninety-Three. The references to both the landscape, events, and the vernacular of the time have me looking up terminology to make sense of the passages. I did enjoy the description of the "loose cannon" and the subsequent resolve that came from it. I've not come across a better explanation of a "loose cannon" elsewhere.

My description in that paragraph ( "I don't like the title at all, but it's not hard to see that the actions of all the characters in the end lead to living life better. No one was glued to their past in the end." ) was about Collateral Beauty.

Personally, I found that the wording all flowed in Ninety-Three, but perhaps that was the translation. The "loose cannon" scene was brilliant in the book, and I can imagine that in French it's even better. As far as Romanticism, there are dark scenes, except there is great triumph when overcoming adversity. In this sense, a "darker side" is spot on. After all, good drama has some nasty obstacles. It's less about details than it is -why- the characters act, even if the events are "unrealistic".

I agree somewhat that the 3 roles got too much weight as far as the plot. I blame that on weakness in some of the writing rather than a philosophical choice or theme. Through the ending though, we can say that the point overall was about rediscovering purpose.

Keep in mind that by the end, Howard at last reacted, upon Madeleine's advice. He was finding values again that he never really lost. Early on, he was passively pulled along by death, love, and time. Same with the supporting business partners. At the end, everyone took responsibility.

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