Seeking Meaning: Exploring 'Collateral Beauty'

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Table of Contents

  • Introduction
  • Loss and Perception: A Complex Duality
  • The Interconnectedness of Humanity
  • Embracing Imperfection and Healing
  • Conclusion


"Collateral Beauty," directed by David Frankel, is a cinematic exploration of the intricate interplay between loss, perception, and healing. The film follows the journey of Howard, played by Will Smith, a man grappling with the profound loss of his daughter. Through a unique narrative approach, the film challenges conventional notions of reality and perception, inviting viewers to contemplate the complexities of human emotions and the potential for healing even in the face of tragedy. This essay examines how the film navigates the realms of loss and perception, its portrayal of interconnectedness, and the transformative power of embracing life's imperfections.

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Loss and Perception: A Complex Duality

"Collateral Beauty" delves into the intricate relationship between loss and perception. Howard's grief over the death of his daughter colors his perception of the world, causing him to see life through a lens of pain and detachment. His once-vibrant outlook is clouded by a sense of disillusionment, leading him to question the very essence of human existence.

The film raises questions about how grief alters one's perception of reality. As Howard writes letters to abstract concepts—Love, Time, and Death—he seeks to comprehend their role in his suffering. These letters become a manifestation of his attempt to make sense of the inexplicable, illustrating the ways in which human perception can be influenced by emotions and personal experiences.

The Interconnectedness of Humanity

Through the narrative device of personifying Love, Time, and Death, "Collateral Beauty" emphasizes the interconnectedness of humanity's shared experiences. The interactions between Howard and these personified concepts serve as a reminder that the emotions and challenges he faces are not isolated to his individual experience—they resonate with the human condition on a broader scale.

The film's portrayal of interconnectedness underscores the idea that grief and healing are universal experiences that transcend individual circumstances. Howard's journey serves as a catalyst for others to confront their own struggles and reevaluate their perceptions of the world around them.

Embracing Imperfection and Healing

Amidst the complexities of loss and perception, "Collateral Beauty" advocates for embracing the imperfections of life and finding healing through connection. The film challenges the notion of a flawless existence and instead presents a nuanced perspective that acknowledges both the light and shadow in human experiences.

Howard's interactions with his colleagues, who are grappling with their own challenges, reveal the potential for growth and transformation through shared vulnerability. The film highlights the power of empathy and compassion in facilitating healing and fostering authentic connections.


"Collateral Beauty" weaves a narrative tapestry that intertwines loss, perception, and healing in a profound and thought-provoking manner. Through its exploration of grief's impact on perception, its portrayal of interconnectedness, and its advocacy for embracing imperfection, the film invites viewers to contemplate the intricate layers of the human experience. Ultimately, "Collateral Beauty" underscores the potential for growth, healing, and genuine connection even in the midst of life's most challenging moments.

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