P – The Philosophical Perspective on Love & Death in “Collateral Beauty”



“You’ve been given a gift, this profound connection to everything. Just look for it, and I promise you it’s there, the collateral beauty.” – Madeleine, “Collateral Beauty”

Movies often entertain, but every so often you will come across a film which really makes you think.  If you’re a poetic soul who loves to ponder things and ponder them deeply, then Collateral Beauty is a film you will surely appreciate.

Critics bashed this December 2016 release, causing it to become the weakest box office film debut of Will Smith’s career.  This film doesn’t include the stunning effects or visual appeal of most blockbusters, and does tend to move at a slower pace.  In fact, I feel that this story would have done much better if performed as a live play on stage.  If you’re willing to read between the lines and seek out its wisdom, however, Collateral Beauty has a unique and thought-provoking perspective on life to offer its viewers.

The film follows a successful New York marketing executive after the tragic loss of his six-year old daughter.  Consumed by grief, the man is unable to function and desperate for answers.  Then, unexpectedly, three visitors arrive to provide just that: answers.  They tell him they are Time, Love, and Death, and have come to grant him understanding of why things needed to happen the way they did.  While the general overtone of the film is a deep sadness, it also includes a constant undercurrent of hope.

Here are three Profound Principles found in this film:

1.)  When It Comes to Changing the World, We Are Never Out of Time – The majority of people feel like life is slipping through their fingertips, and mourn the fact that they meant to accomplish so much more before this much time was up.  In this film, however, Time himself explains that instead of crying over how much time we’ve lost, we ought to focus on using the time we still have.  Profound change doesn’t have to come from us in order to be shared through us.  Yes, it is still possible for us to make a difference in this world.

2.) Love Reveals Itself Just As Much Through Pain As It Does Through Happy Moments – Instead of dreading pain, loss, and sorrow, we can view these times as windows that allow us to see how deep our love for someone truly flows.  Do we feel love through shared moments of joy?  Of course!  But do we also feel love – perhaps on an even more intimate level – through shared moments of pain?  The answer is a resounding yes.

3.) Nothing Is Ever Truly Dead, If You Think About It the Right Way – While death is an inevitable part of life physically, what really makes us tick – our spirit, our influence – lives on.  This is especially true for the Christian, who looks forward to a sweeter fellowship with the Lord after this life than can possibly be enjoyed while we still draw breath.  Having personally been impacted by several individuals perhaps more after their death than while they were still with us, I can appreciate this perspective.

The film is family-friendly, but its continual reflection on death and dying make it more suitable for older teens and above.  Don’t expect a thrilling, action-packed ride.  But if you’re looking for something a little more philosophical – a little more deep – then you will enjoy this one.



Today’s post is part of the A-to-Z Challenge, where participants commit to posting one article for each day during the month of April – one for every letter of the alphabet.  



Check back here at “The Artistic Christian” for a daily slice of art (art reviews, practical tips, and motivation for artists), all steeped in a rich Christian worldview.


3 thoughts on “P – The Philosophical Perspective on Love & Death in “Collateral Beauty”

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