The trailer of Collateral Beauty presented a unique situation where abstract concepts like Death, Time and Love are made human and could communicate back. But that's not the full story. It's actually much better and more involved than that.
Howard is a broken man whose Death in the family is threatening the very company he built. His three colleagues are concerned for his well-being but can't wait for Time to heal all wounds. Though coming from a place of Love, they spy on Howard and try to find a way to snap him out of his depression.
The high concept of sending letters addressed to the universe isn't new. Santa Claus is mentioned after all. Abstractions personified aren't new either. But the film presents the concept as one thing, then turns it into another then turns it around once again. It might be considered trite to some but I was floored at the gall it took. Loved it. How it was pulled off was quite satisfying, even if the way certain segments were squared off were too neat and clean. There's even a last minute instance were the rug gets pulled under you and it felt good.
Will Smith gets top billing but Edward Norton is the initial impetus. He gets pushed to the wayside as the others vie for equal time in the spotlight. It's Helen Mirren who shines in her role as she relishes the part she plays. Such enthusiasm.
Collateral Beauty might be considered hokey to some but it is to be treasured for the joy it would bring to those whose hearts it will touch.