Collateral Beauty: Embracing Loss, Love, and Redemption

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Table of Contents

  • Introduction
  • The Complex Portrait of Grief
  • Human Connections and Redemption
  • Finding Collateral Beauty
  • Conclusion


"Collateral Beauty," directed by David Frankel, is a thought-provoking film that delves into the profound themes of loss, love, and redemption. The story follows a man named Howard, played by Will Smith, who is struggling to cope with the tragic loss of his daughter. Through a unique narrative approach, the film explores how Howard's grief impacts his relationships and how unexpected sources of collateral beauty emerge from his journey of healing. This essay examines the film's portrayal of grief, its exploration of human connections, and the concept of finding meaning amidst life's challenges.

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The Complex Portrait of Grief

The heart of "Collateral Beauty" lies in its portrayal of grief—the raw and complex emotions that engulf Howard following the death of his daughter. The film captures the all-encompassing nature of grief, depicting Howard's struggle to make sense of a world that seems to have lost its color and purpose. His emotional detachment and withdrawal from his job and loved ones reflect the immense weight of his loss.

Howard's experience resonates with anyone who has faced grief, as the film captures the universal struggle to find meaning and direction when faced with overwhelming sorrow. His emotional journey becomes a canvas for exploring the depths of human emotion, vulnerability, and the transformative power of healing.

Human Connections and Redemption

Amidst Howard's grief, "Collateral Beauty" unveils a narrative thread centered around his interactions with three unique characters—Love, Time, and Death. These abstract concepts are personified by actors—Keira Knightley, Jacob Latimore, and Helen Mirren, respectively. Through these interactions, Howard is confronted with questions about the nature of these concepts and their role in shaping human existence.

As Howard engages with these personifications, he embarks on a path of self-discovery and redemption. The film explores how love, time, and death are interconnected and how they ultimately contribute to the fabric of human experience. The profound conversations and interactions between Howard and these abstract entities challenge his perspective and lead him towards a newfound understanding of life's complexities.

Finding Collateral Beauty

The term "collateral beauty" refers to the unexpected moments of joy, connection, and meaning that emerge from life's darkest moments. In the film, these moments are manifested through the interactions and relationships Howard forms as he navigates his grief. His interactions with his colleagues, his estranged wife, and a support group allow him to connect with the shared human experience of loss and healing.

The film's message is clear: even in the midst of pain, there are moments of beauty and connection that can provide solace and purpose. "Collateral Beauty" challenges viewers to reevaluate their perspective on life's challenges, inviting them to seek moments of meaning amidst adversity and to find strength in the connections that emerge during times of vulnerability.


"Collateral Beauty" is a cinematic exploration of grief, love, and redemption that resonates on a profound emotional level. Through its unique narrative approach, the film delves into the intricate tapestry of human emotions, portraying the rawness of loss and the transformative power of healing. By embracing the concept of collateral beauty, the film invites viewers to reframe their perspective on life's challenges and to recognize the potential for beauty, connection, and redemption even in the darkest of times.

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