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Sunday, May 28, 2017

Collateral Beauty (2016)

There are some excellent actors in this movie, and while it is a somewhat painful topic, the movie is well done from my point of view. Which is that of someone who has had a child with a brain tumor, and who is also faced with the personal threat of a foreshortened life.  These are things that make it very hard to function in the world populated by people who have largely dodged the majority of these unfortunate events, and who do not tolerate those who wear them so obviously on their sleeves.  So this is a movie that has great star power but poor reviews.  In most cases, they focus on the tear jerking qualities, and fail to look at it from an empathetic stance.  What can be done to help profoundly saddened people?  How to keep them in your life?  Because one thing that I have learned from my brushes with these situations is that they are profoundly lonely.
Will Smith plays Howard, a man defeated by the death of his daughter to a brain tumor.  He has no interest in life or work.  He is partnered with three others in his work whose fate he directly affects, and all is not well in the world for their business.  There is hope, but it hinges on Howard participating and he is not on board with that.  At all.
So his friends/business partners go about fooling him.  It is one part cruel, one part self interest on their part, and one part desperation to help unsettle their friend out of his crippling grief.  I am not going to go into the wisdom of this approach, but rather to applaud the motivation of helping the grieving to re-engage with the living in a way that is meaningful for them.  There is the potential for collateral beauty with grief, it can just be very hard to find some times.

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