Plenty of films have personified death — Brad Pitt’s pretty boy version from Meet Joe Black comes to mind — but the upcoming Collateral Beauty has a couple more nouns-turned-humans it would like you to meet.
The trailer for the film (embedded above) made its debut Wednesday. In addition to death (Helen Mirren), the film throws physical manifestations of love (Keira Knightley), and time (Jacob Latimore) into the mix for good measure. The trio comes to life in response to letters from Howard Inlet (Will Smith), the poor sap who has to wrap his head around the whole thing.
Here’s the quick-and-dirty synopsis: “When a successful New York advertising executive (Smith) experiences a deep personal tragedy and retreats from life entirely, his colleagues devise a drastic plan to force him to confront his grief in a surprising and profoundly human way.”
What better place to set such a tale than the Big Apple — a harsh, unrelenting city that intermittently awes you with its collateral beauty? The latter is on display often in this spot, and the aerial shots of the city are so stunning that they sort of steal the show from the Hollywood stars.
The trailer pulls no punches when it comes to melodrama, and its marquee cast should have no problem guiding viewers through this tearjerking maelstrom of emotion. The film also stars Naomie Harris, Edward Norton, Michael Peña, and Kate Winslet — can you say “Oscar or bust?”
Like most awards-seeking projects, Collateral Beauty could easily stray into sappiness, and/or fall victim to heightened ambition. We’ll have to wait until at least December 16 to find out. That’s the film’s projected release date, but the trailer ends with the words “coming soon,” which could foreshadow a delay.