Review: ‘The Collateral Beauty’ of Illness


I’ve wanted to see the movie, “Collateral Beauty” since it’s release last year and finally watched it this weekend. There are times when a movie, song, writing, painting or another piece of art generate a profound impact in us and I would add this film into that category.


The main character, played by Will Smith, is suffering from tremendous grief. The movie tells the story of his business partners and friends going to great lengths to help him. These people also learn important life lessons as well. The underlying themes are love, time and death. Cancer also has a couple starring roles. The concept of collateral beauty is explained, when a character shares her feelings of an overwhelming and profound connection to everything after her own traumatic experience.

After this scene, I looked at my husband and said, “I totally get it.”

Without question, dealing with illness has made me more intensely aware of love, time and death. I remember not long after treatment, feeling so much love for everything and everyone around me. I had so much gratitude for time and deeply understood it’s fragility and temporariness.  I walked the line between life and death and saw how thin the line is.  These feelings were so intense to the point my face would be soaked with tears from a pretty sunset or when my eyes flicked open in the morning. It was then I learned how much beauty can exist in that deemed terrible. I think these feelings and awareness have been a gift and none of that would be possible without cancer.

“No matter how dark and no matter how difficult a time is, there is something beautiful that’s happening right there, you just have to look and see it.” -Will Smith

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