Will Smith wasn’t the problem with the dismally received Suicide Squad. Suicide Squad was the problem with Suicide Squad. Smith got out of Midway City relatively unscathed (he and Margot Robbie were the best things about the movie), but it’s been awhile since Smith — whose last five lead roles were in Suicide Squad, Concussion, Focus, After Earth, and Men in Black 3, with Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues and Winter’s Tale in between… yikes — starred in something that’s been both a critical and commercial success. (Maybe 2007’s I Am Legend?) Will his next movie break that streak? Let’s take a look.
Directed by David Frankel (The Devil Wears Prada, Hope Springs), Collateral Beauty tells the story of Howard Inlet, a New York advertising executive who becomes depressed after a personal tragedy. As a way of coping, he begins to write letters, not to people but to concepts like Death. But in an It’s Wonderful Life-like twist, Death, as well as Love and Time, take the form of Helen Mirren, Kiera Knightley, and Jacob Latimore, respectively and teach Howard to love life, or something. If that sounds a little treacly, the trailer doesn’t offer a lot to suggest it won’t be. And it’s possible that the film is arriving when it is as inspirational holiday counter-programming to Rogue One. At least Helen Mirren looks like she’s having fun.