After losing his daughter Howard (Will Smith) goes in to a state of shutdown becoming reclusive, unresponsive and depressed only communicating with love, time and death – all of which he feel betrayed him – through letter. Much to his surprise they begin to respond, unexpectedly, in human form forcing him to face the reality and come to some level of acceptance regarding his daughters death, including reuniting with his wife and re-discovering love.
This is a heartwarming and moving story about a man who has lost his faith in the world rediscovering the things that keep us going and coming to terms with the death of his daughter. A film full of emotion, hope and undiscovered beauty that can be found in the world. It had a real feel of Charles Dickens “A Christmas Carol” in the sense that he was visited by time, love and death all of which gave him unique insight in to certain situations that have occurred in his life or how things could be if he made a little change.
Although it has a weak storyline I think they pulled off the film pretty well, it’s entertaining and there are no wasted scenes that lose your interest and everything ties together in the end. There are a couple of Kate Winslet’s scenes that could have been cut down a little bit as I feel things were overshared or made to obvious regarding her situation, but other than that those scenes were also good. At first you think the scenes with the group leader of the support group are a bit pointless and roll your eyes at the possible love interest aspect of it, but it turns out that it is a beautiful partnership at the end of the film. One of the twists is very predictable, but the other took me off guard a little bit because I was so focused on the obvious one.
One thing I didn’t enjoy was the dialogue in this film. The delivery was fine, but the writing could have been improved dramatically. You sit there thinking “Okay, and your point is?” at a lot of the dialogue. There is also a theme of oversharing in the film which makes me feel like the film makers were worried people wouldn’t “get it” even though it’s glaringly obvious.
Will Smith shines in this film along with Naomie Harris who both give stellar performances showing true emotion in subtle and effective ways and their scenes together are the best in the film because they have a lot of on-screen chemistry. Norton, Winslet and Pena also give fantastic performances as Howard’s colleagues who want him to feel better, but also have to save the company. Winslet in particular stands out in these scenes. Helen Mirren is incredible in her role as Death/Brigette proving (once again) that she can morph for roles and keep each performance fresh with new ideas. Keira Knightley and Edward Norton are exactly what you would expect them to be, which is disappointing, but it does add to the film.
In conclusion, this is a film with a weak story line and weak dialogue, but it is still entertaining and the acting is really good.