Friday, December 16, 2016
Death & Departure: A Holiday Message
In addition, I've taken to listening to podcasts at work, and coincidentally the last few days the theme of several different shows have dealt with near death experiences; organ donation needed to preserve a loved ones life; different philosophies of heaven; and souls not passing over, caught between planes a.k.a ghosts. It does make the day go faster listening to these supernatural and somewhat morbid or inspirational, depending on your view, topics; but it also makes me nervous. Is God preparing me for the death of a loved one this holiday season? The death rate does seem to go up right before the new year. My mother is 79 and my Aunt who is like a second mother is 74. Many people in their 70's seem more like late 50's or 60's, this can not be said for either my mother or aunt, no offense to either of them.
Or heaven forbid, but could it be someone still in the prime of their life, like a sibling or friend? Could it be me preparing myself for my own untimely demise? I don't want to be setting up a self-fulling prophesy, it's just with so much about death and dying coming at me, how do you not think about its portent? Not to mention, over this past weekend we got a free HBO offer, so I've finally started watching Game of Thrones, a show I've been "dying" to see forever, but damn, Ned Stark and the fat King gone before Season 2!
So yeah, Collateral Beauty, directed by David Frankel (The Devil Wears Prada, Marley & Me), stars Will Smith as Howard, a charming, successful, full of life marketing company CEO, who becomes a ghost of himself after the death of his daughter. In order to express some of what he feels deep in the grips of grief, he writes letters to the concepts of Time, Death and Love, as these are the principals of his success in the Ad game - these three abstracts are what he believes connects every human on the planet. The trailer makes it seem that the personification of these entities receive Howard's messages and come calling, and perhaps that is the case. However, the movie also grounds the plot in reality by having his partners in the firm, Whit, Claire & Simon (Ed Norton, Kate Winslet & Michael Peña) hire actors to play the parts of Death (Helen Mirren) Love (Keira Knightly) and Time (Jacob Latimore) in order to either shock Howard back to life and the business at hand. Or make him seem incompetent in order to sell the company without needing his consent. It makes the partners sound sinister, yet they truly do care for Howard, but they know in order to save their employee's jobs and salvage everything for which they've worked hard and sacrificed, drastic measures must be taken. In setting up the ruse, separate relationships develop with the actors, who act as sounding boards and confidants to each partner's personal issues apart from the business.
I read some negative reviews about Smith's performance, but I totally feel he embodies someone stuck in grief, unable to process and move on. You see it in his tired eyes and feel his emotions so close to the surface that even trying to utter his daughter's name causes tears.
I know that Collateral Damage refers to death, or injuries inflicted on an unintended target. Collateral Beauty I think refers to the life affirming connectedness which occurs unexpectedly out of what seems to be only loss.
T & T's LAMB (movie bloggers association) Score: 3 outta 5
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