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Movie Blog Post: COLLATERAL BEAUTY

Friday, December 16, 2016


Out of my heart, one treach'rous winter's day, 
I locked young Love and threw the key away. 
Grief, wandering widely, found the key, 
And hastened with it, straightway, back to me, 
With Love beside him. He unlocked the door 
And bade Love enter with him there and stay. 
And so the twain abide for evermore. 
"Love And Grief" - Poem by Paul Laurence Dunbar
 

 Death & Departure: A Holiday Message


By Le Anne Lindsay, Editor of Tinsel & Tine

What's with all the death and dealing with the process of grief stuff this holiday season? David E. Talbert's Almost Christmas (click for T&T post) deals with a family trying to pull it together for their first Christmas without a beloved wife and mother.  Kenneth Lonergan's Manchester by the Sea is about an uncle and nephew trying to bond after the surprising death of their brother/father. A Monster Calls written by Patrick Ness (which I keep referring to as "A Monster's Call", as if he has a cellphone) is the story of a boy needing to prepare himself for the death of his ailing mother. And COLLATERAL BEAUTY presents a father blaming the Universe for taking his only daughter at the tender age of six.

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.

If you're a woman in the Philadelphia area who is suffering through grief there is a group that meets through City Church in West Philly (a church home I dip in and out of) it's called DISCUSSIONS SURROUNDING LOSS run by Shannon Sarracino sgsarracino@gmail.com. Process and pray with other women as you seek the Lord's comfort through a season of loss.


T & T's LAMB (movie bloggers association) Score: 3 outta 5
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is about discovering what I find pleasing in screening & eating - in case you missed it, the name is a play on Tinseltown using the Tines of a Fork.

Feel free to send me info on a film or new restaurant you'd like me to highlight.
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Will there ever be a cap on movie prices?

Will we one day pay $20 a pop?

Why don't we pay on a scale?

A crap movie like everything Adam Sandler has ever done should cost about $4.50.
Big action movies like"Lord of the Rings", "Iron Man," "Transformers" are worth $10.
Woody Allen movie or something like "Silver Linings Playbook" $6-$7.
A chick flick or light comedy $5.75 and most Indie Films $5.25.

You could even do it by seasons - all summer block busters from May to August - $10
Sept - November 15th $3.50 - $4
Back to $10 for Thanksgiving and Christmas etc...

Or you can do it by A Actors ($9 - $10), B Actors ($6 - $7) TV actors on the big screen ($3.50 - $4)

Surely I'm not the first person to realize this makes sense. Has it been voted on in the Motion Picture Industry and then vetoed? If so, why?
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