Collateral Beauty is a movie about a man (Will Smith) who is visited by the physical manifestation of Time, Death, and Love to help him grieve the death of his daughter. I did not know what to expect when I saw the trailer for this movie when I watched it, but this movie has made an impression on me. Without going into a lot of the plot details, I will tell you that one idea in the film that touched me was the idea of finding beauty in the midst of a tragedy.
This movie goes beyond simply finding meaning and purpose in the midst of suffering and goes one step further to find actual beauty during a tragedy. Victor Frankel, the founder Existential therapy and author of Man’s Search for Meaning is a real life example of how its possible to find beauty in the midst of suffering. He spent his life in a concentration camp during the holocaust where he was fed fish heads for meals. Victor Frankel wrote about how he found beauty in the fish head. Dr. David Hawkins, M.D., Ph.D also wrote about how he can find beauty in a piece of trash because that peace of trash is a perfect piece of trash.
However, part of the magic of watching this movie is that we get to witness the facial expressions, emotions, and pain that Will Smith’s character goes through during his suffering. Also, the movie does not sugar coat the tremendous suffering that occurs during grief. Will Smith’s character is in deep pain, extremely sad, and emotionally unwell throughout the movie. He also goes through intense and extreme grief that causes a disruption in his life. The creators of the movie have accurately depicted that grief is unique to the individual experiencing it, does not always have a structured emotional stage, and is truly painful. The writer’s allow Will Smith’s character to express his pain, emotions, and hurt in a manner that is authentic and helpful to him, even if it does not conform with what most people would deem to be a normal expression of grief.
Still, in the midst of the tragedy, pain, and emotional hurt of grief that Smith’s character experiences, he is also encouraged by characters playing Love, Death, and Time to not to miss the beauty in his life, even in though he is going through intense grief. This made me wonder if I ever miss the beauty that is around me even though I might be experiencing stress, anxiety, or emotional distress. If Victor Frankel can find beauty in a fish head for a meal and David Hawkins can find beauty in a piece of trash, then where else is is possible to find beauty? An act of kindness by a co-worker or stranger, a child’s smile, a field of grass or wildflower. These are all possible forms of beauty that we can usually experience most days. Where do you experience beauty?
Founder of Spiritual Media Blog