Collateral Beauty [2016] ★★½

cbNothing kicks off the Holiday season like a heartwarming movie featuring an all star cast that includes Will Smith, Helen Mirren, Keira Knightley, Edward Norton, Michael Pena and Kate Winslet. Smith is no stranger to dramatic roles, having previously starred in “Seven Pounds” and the highly rewarding “The Pursuit of Happyness”. In “Collateral Beauty”, he plays a man grieving the death of his 6 year old daughter. By doing so, he decides to write letters to death, love and time. The twist? he receives unexpected answers from each. All this would threaten to spin out of control if all the actors involved didn’t swim against the tearjerker tide in Allan Loeb’s script. Director David Frankel resists cheesiness so many times. Does it always work? No. But he gets the job done by delivering an emotionally charged finale. And Smith wins our hearts yet again by keeping it real. In the hands of a different actor, it wouldn’t have worked as much as it does here. Smith nails it. He’s worth the price of admission alone.

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