Collateral Beauty (2016) Script

Thank you. Thank you.

But no, give yourselves a hand because it was your hard work that gave Yardsham Inlet the best year in the history of this agency.

Before we let all that success go to our heads, we just thought we should get together and reconnect with the fundamentals of what actually got us here.

For that, I'm gonna turn it over to our resident poet philosopher of product.

The rebel command of brand.

He's the guru who terrifies Madison Avenue.

My partner, my better half, Howard Inlet.

Love you.

Yes!

Oh. What is your "why"?

Why did you even get out of the bed this morning?

Why did you eat what you ate?

Why did you wear what you wore?

Why did you come here?

Other than the fact that I would fire you and hire someone else if you didn't show up for work, but...

Not that. The big "why."

We're certainly not here to just sell shit.

We are here to connect.

Life is about people.

Advertising is about illuminating how our products and services will improve people's lives.

Now, how do we do that?

Love.

Time.

Death.

Now these three abstractions connect every single human being on Earth.

Everything that we covet, everything that we fear not having, everything that we ultimately end up buying is because at the end of the day we long for love, we wish we had more time, and we fear death.

Love.

Time.

Death.

Let's begin there.


How long did this one take?

Five days.

That's pretty impressive.

Maybe he came back too soon. Are you kidding me?

It's been six months of this zombie routine.

We can't indulge this anymore.

Especially because we're getting fired by Danworth Financial.

What? You're kidding me.

No, Whit, come on! I'm sorry, what?

But I just talked to them yesterday.

I know. Everybody's been doing their best to cover, but that entire account is built on Howard's relationship.

Half our billings are built on Howard's relationships.

This is a disaster. This is a disaster.

No. Not yet.

We have an offer from Omnicom for $17 a share...

Oh, come on! ...but they want an answer by New Year's. Shh.

Let's be honest, we're not worth $14 a share if my partner takes a sabbatical as the local domino champion of Crazy Town.

That's a little harsh, Whit.

I'm sorry, but it's true.

Simon, I am empowering you. Go make the deal with Omnicom.

I wish I could, but Howard controls the voting shares.

I'll deal with the Howard part, okay?

Just push the papers, Simon.

I still don't understand why Howard got 60% of the voting shares and you only got 40.

Because I needed cash to settle my divorce and Howard did me a huge favor and let me sell him some.

So, if you never had an affair with some junior creative, we wouldn't be in this situation?

Inaccurate and unfair to put it squarely on my shoulders.

Well, I'm just pointing out the facts.

Oh, my God. Don't you just love that smell?

Wait. Stop.

Close your eyes.

Breathe it in.

Doesn't that remind you of your childhood?

Claire, come here.

Come on, I got to tell you something.

What?

I have been doing something about our situation that you need to know about.

What did you do?

I hired someone.

You hired someone?

Yes. Look, when Eloise caught me cheating, she used a private investigator named Sally Price.

She's this woman who looks like a Mormon grandmother, and it makes her very good at the whole stealth thing.

You hired the woman who caused your divorce?

No. I caused my divorce.

Sally Price just documented it.

Wow. That was actually enlightened.

I have hidden depth. We've discussed this.

So, why did you hire the Mormon grandmother?

Because we need to document what's going on with Howard.

We need to show that he's not mentally fit to vote his shares.

No. We're not really in that place where we're...

We're actually gonna be the people who would do that to a friend?

It's not that he won't sell, it's that he won't even have a conversation about selling.

I try to talk to him, I try to reach him, and it's like I'm not even in the same physical space with him.

He's not there.

His kid died.

That was two years ago, Claire.

What are we gonna...

This is our lives at stake.

We're not kids anymore. You look me in the face and tell me that you're willing to have everything you've worked for for the last 10 years just evaporate.

Is this PI good?

She caught me cheating.

Oscar could have caught you cheating.

Who the hell's Oscar?

My son.

Oh. That Oscar?

This private investigator isn't gonna find anything that'll pass for moral turpitude.

Not on Howard, but if she can raise concern regarding legal capacity, then we'll be in business.

I do really think that we are out of other options.

You know, he terrorized the grief counselor for six months.

He totally blew off the Ayahuasca shaman we flew in all the way from Peru.

And our... Our intervention was a disaster.

I just...

Look, uh, this doesn't feel right.

I know.

But when something starts with a six-year-old dying, nothing is gonna feel right.


He writes letters.

Letters? What kind of letters?

This might be the strangest thing I have ever come across.

You got the letters? Oh, yeah.

Can we ask you how?

Cost me $800 to get this cut.

And just so you know, it's a federal offense to steal mail directly from a mailbox.

You could... Yeah.

So, three letters. Who are they to?

Oh, not who. What do you mean?

Howard doesn't write letters to people.

He writes to things.

What kind of things? Time.

Love.

Death.

The three abstractions.

"Time, "they say you heal all wounds, "but they don't talk about how you destroy

"all that's good in the world.

"How you turn beauty into ash.

"Well, you're nothing more than petrified wood to me.

"You're a dead tissue that won't decompose.

"You're nothing."

That doesn't prove anything. We can't use that, right?

No. I mean, kids write letters to Santa Claus, it doesn't mean they're crazy.

No. This is therapeutic.

It's so sad.

Yeah. Anything else?

Usually after work, he goes to a small dog park in Brooklyn, even though he doesn't own a dog.

Just sits there for hours.

Does he write letters to the dogs?

Are you serious?

Well, that would be like the home run, right?

I mean, that's what we need.

Does he? Not that I saw.

Okay. What else? That's it, really.

Goes home to his apartment. Rarely leaves before morning.

No Wi-Fi, cable, phone. Nothing.

"You're a dead tissue that won't decompose."


Howard?

Hey, it's Claire.

I swung by that place down the street and got you some dinner.

It's that shrimp thing you like.

Okay, I'm gonna leave it right here, in case you haven't eaten.

Hey, don't keep leaving the food there.

He doesn't eat it.

Oh, I'm... I'm sorry.

And he's late on his rent again.

He doesn't answer his door, and I don't have a working number for him.

Yeah, he doesn't have a phone anymore.

Um, how much does he owe? I'll write you a check.

If that's what you want to do.

And, uh, if you're not doing anything with that shrimp...

Broccoli rabe last week was delicious.


Here he is.

Hey, where's your stuff?

I wanted to text you, but Mom said I had to call.

Text me about what?

But then Barry said I had to tell you in person.

Are we taking life advice from Barry now?

What are... What are you trying to tell me?

I'm not coming to stay with you.

I'm going with Barry and Mom to the Bahamas.

No, no. Wait, wait, wait.

Hi.

How you doing?

Can I get, like, five minutes, maybe a couple feet just to have this conversation with my daughter?

Thanks.

Honey, I got...

I got all kinds of stuff planned.

I got a Christmas tree for us.

Then sucks for you.

I got us tickets to Hamilton.

Then sucks for Hamilton.

That's a tough ticket, Allison.

I've already seen it.

You did? You saw that with Mom and Barry?

And Odell Beckham Jr.

And Odell Beckham?

Yeah.

He's one of Barry's friends.

Why?

Why don't you want to spend the holiday with me?

I miss you.

Because I hate you.

Because you're a philanthropist.

Because you broke Mom's heart.

Philanderer. What?

The word you're looking for is philanderer, not philanthropist.

They have a slightly different meaning.

Well, you would know.

Mmm-hmm.

Look, I agreed to tell you in person, and now I have.

Hey, have a good Christmas.

Hold it.

Hey.

So, rapid fire round while I got you?

Cavs are in town.

Christmas showdown at the Garden.

I never give your seat away.

I just go solo, but we could go.

Don't even have to talk. Don't even have to look at each other.

We can do just what we're doing right now and just watch the game.

Be like old times.

Right, number two.

We're gonna lose the Danworth account because that's always been your relationship.

And they're not feeling the love, as you might imagine.

So that's gonna happen.

Whatever though, because we've got an offer from Omnicom, and it's real.

17 bucks a share.

Please consider it, because...

Yeah, yeah.

Because they leave total creative control and they let everybody keep their jobs, which I know you care about, because you love these people.

Good talk.


The Beijing boys are here.

Oh, God. No one wants Chinese coffee.

Well, we're selling it.

The Manchurian macchiato. Mmm.

What are we casting?

Cruise line. Now, see, that's good copy.

"Shed your skin, find your life."

Sorry, it's

"Life is found when you shed your skin."

Does it really matter? Yes, because I wrote it.

Oh, well, my way's better.

Really? How? Yeah.

Well... Wait, what is your way?

"Life is found when you shed your skin."

Which, you know, kind of hits you here.

"Shed your skin, find your life."

Hits you here.

That does hit me here.

Right?

You can have it for free.

Just, wait. Wait.

Wait.

Hey, Frankel. Yeah?

"Shed your skin, find your life."

"Shed your skin, find your life." Everybody, okay?

Got it.

She made it better.

Hey!

No, no, no.

Hey, hey!


"And you talk to me in such tones

"as if it wasn't the breath in my lungs that gave you life."

You're late. Sorry.

"As if it wasn't a spark in my mind

"that gave that life meaning."

"Oh, you move your tongue, you mouth syllables, "you echo sentiment.

"But you do not breathe."

"You speak of spark?

"That is richness.

"For you deny the spark between us all.

"A spark that is more a sun than the cold fire you claim.

"And you have called me a temporary madness.

"A vicious soul.

"Well, "then ask if you will see me just one more time."

Hello?

Hi.

So sorry. I literally just wandered in, and I caught the tail end of that, and...

Can I just say that was beautiful?

What is... What is it?

It's just something we're trying to put together.

I just... I love theater. I see everything.

So when's opening night? I'll be there.

There is no opening night until we get this money together.

You rich? Divorced.

You followed me from the casting session.

Absolutely, I did. Yes. Yeah.

I almost lost you, but the red hat helped.

Hey, um, I'm gonna say something a little impulsive here, maybe a little crazy, but, you know, uh, I have something about to happen for me.

I'm in the middle of a deal that if it all comes together, I'd be in a position to help.

Well, now wouldn't that be lovely?

It would. Be great.

And you, you know, you fixed it.

So, we should get you back into casting if you want the gig. I mean...

Sorry, I don't even... I don't know your name.

Amy. Amy.

Okay. Well, I'll be back, Amy. I'll be back.

Mmm. And I'll be...

Hmm. Sorry.

I was on the stage!

I'll be back.

You're good.

Well done, you.

Apartment next door is vacant, but the guy down the hall says he didn't hear anything.

Ditto the manager.

Wait, they have a CSI: Cleveland now?

Neighborhood like this... It's a new show.

Minding their own business.

What's a respectable neurosurgeon doing in a crack house?

I don't know.

The werewolves, they're meeting out front all hours of the night.

I heard them. Yeah.

I think they're...

I think they're voting on a new head of the syndicate.

But...

I got a raccoon friend. He's on the task force.

He put a bug out there for me by the trash cans.

We're gonna tape everything they say and we'll bust them on a RICO statute.

I don't know anything about that.

Hey, I'm your son.

I know that!

Good.

I'll be right back.


Okay, I have kind of a wild idea.

And I know you're gonna laugh at me, but remember that we're desperate and hear me out.

So, my mom hasn't been totally in her right mind since her stroke, right?

And I'm always trying to remind her what's actually going on and correct the, sort of, daffy things that she says.

And it upsets her, and it really stresses me out.

And it was pretty much just awful for a while.

And then, someone said something very, very wise to me.

They said, "Maybe you should stop trying to force your reality on her

"and just... Just go into her reality."

I thought you couldn't afford therapy anymore.

I can't. It was my Uber driver. Oh.

And he was totally right. Totally right!

As soon as I started doing this, everything got easier, you know?

Our life is like this improvisational game.

She just... She says wackadoodle stuff, and I respond to it.

And, uh, she's totally happy and I kind of have fun.

And that made me think of something else.

Mmm.

Okay.

When I was at FBW, I had this account for a psychostimulant drug, right?

And they went with some bullshit generic campaign, but I kept the Hispanic market.

Here, watch this. Okay.

So, the teacher is really stressing. He's saying, uh, "Well, you talk all the time! You never listen!"

And then here comes the monster.

"It doesn't have to be this way."

Teacher, "Who are you?"

Monster, "I'm your anger, man."

And the teacher says...

"I can't stand you, man. You dominate my life."

And anger says, "There's a solution, my friend.

"Docotrin, say goodbye to your anger."

Do you see where I'm going with this?

Not really. Okay, okay. Look, look.

We can't get Howard to deal with this reality that we need him to deal with.

And he's writing letters to abstractions which makes no sense.

But... But he's doing it.

So, what if we just go into his reality and we get those abstractions to answer him?

I'm sorry, I... I don't follow.

What if Love, Time and Death show up in person and answer the letters that Howard's been writing to them?

How are Time, Love and Death gonna show up?

Actors.

We hire actors to be Love, Death and Time.

They find Howard and they confront him.

So, you want us to gaslight your boss?

Huh? I'm sorry? Gas Light.

You know? It was a play, then it was a movie.

Gas Light? Oh, my God.

Does nobody ever watch anything longer than eight seconds anymore?

What she's saying is you want us to make him think he's crazy?

No, no, no. It's not about making Howard think he's crazy.

Howard's not in a good mental state, and we know that.

It's about underlining that fact so that other people can see it, too.

Okay. So you want us to perform in this intervention, and for that you're gonna finance our play?

That's it. Exactly.

Yeah, we'll finance whatever...

I mean, this looks like a storage facility, but...

Okay. Well, actors. What do we think?

No. No, no, no. Oh, no.

Listen, listen!

We take $15,000 each.

Okay? $15,000. Are you completely out of your mind?

Okay, we'll do it.

$20,000, each.

Uh-uh! I just... You guys just said 15. I heard you say 15.

Mmm... I like 20. I like 20 as well.

Well, 20's just... I don't know, it's a little steep.

I'm like... I was thinking two. These guys probably live in Brooklyn.

They pay 600 bucks a month. Stop talking. Just stop.

You did a good job pulling them down.

This is horrible. This is completely wrong.

No, Amy. This is the work. This is acting.

Did you not hear them say that this man's lost his child?

Yes. And that's why he's reaching out to the cosmos for answers.

Well, we get to be that cosmos.

Okay, so you want us to manipulate this guy's pain so that, what?

What, you cash out? You make a lot of money?

No! No, no, no, no!

That doesn't sound good when you put it that way.

It's a lot more complicated than that. Is it?

We love this man.

And he's not just a boss, he's a friend.

Howard is a brilliant, creative, charismatic guy who used to be fearless.

He used to love life, and right now, he hates it.

And you really think that this is gonna help him?

He lost his child.

And now he doesn't care if he loses everything else.

We just can't let that happen.

We have to bring him back.

$20,000's worth it.

I'll pay for it. Claire!

I'll pay for it. I'll pay for it myself. I don't care.

So, what are the rules?

Well, first, we'd have to sign a confidentiality agreement.

And make sure that you don't talk about it, 'cause...

No, I don't mean the legal rules.

I mean, the rules of the theatrical device.

I mean, do other people see us, or only Howard?

Yeah, do other people see them, Whit? Whit?

I guess... I guess only Howard.

That's the effect we're looking for, right?

Guess? You guess? I mean...

I'm sorry, have you thought this through?

Sure. Sure. No.

I mean, to a degree. No, we haven't.

No, we haven't, Whit. Shut up! Like... We haven't.

For instance, what if they go into a bar and they want to order a drink?

How can they do that if...

Do you see Howard walking into a lot of bars these days?

Whatever. Doesn't matter.

I mean, what if Howard goes clubbing? They're actors.

They need to know hypothetically. Okay. Okay. Enough. Enough.

We have the power to be seen by whomever we want, whenever we want.

How's that? I like that, I like that.

I told you they were good. I like that, yeah.

We should just leave it to them.

Let's move on.

What's next?

Well, Howard wrote three letters to Love, Death and Time.

So, I guess the only question is who plays who?

Casting. Very important.

Love.

Death.

Time.

Great. When do we get paid?


"Dear Death, you travel with so much mythology, "cause so much pain, inspire such fear.

"But you're a paper tiger to me.

"You're just pathetic and powerless middle management.

"You don't even have the authority to make a simple trade."

As you can see, it's not exactly a fan letter.

Yeah, well, Death doesn't have any fans.

I don't understand why, because it's a liberation.

Hey, you okay?

Mmm-mmm.

He goes to work, and the dog park.

And that's it.

Okay. So, here's how I'm gonna do it.

I'm gonna come to him angry.

Like, pissed off. Like, we got a problem.

No, no, no. Don't do that.

He's calling me wood and dead tissue. He's calling me out.

How's he calling you out?

Time.

He's calling out Time, and I'm Time.

Look, I don't want you antagonizing Howard.

Do you get that?

But the letter only consists of one word, "Goodbye."

Look.

"Dear Love, goodbye."

What am I even supposed to say to him?

Um, it's...

It's a letter to Love saying goodbye, right?

Yeah. So, what if you approach him, and you refuse to accept that?

You say he can't get rid of you that easily.

Tell him that we don't get to choose who we love and who loves us back.

Tell him that you're within him, you're within everything, whether he likes it or not.

And if he accepts that, then maybe... I don't know.

Maybe he gets to find his life again.


They grieve.

Dogs.

They grieve, and they fully understand death.

You called me a paper tiger.

In the letter you wrote me.

You said I was pathetic.

Mmm.

You don't remember?

You went on about middle management, making a deal, paper tiger.

Oh, Howard, it wasn't that long ago.

Where did you get that?

Who are you? Who did you write the letter to?

I wrote the letter to Death.

Nice to meet you. Charmed, I'm sure.

No.

I know, I know.

People write letters to the universe all the time.

Most don't get a personal response.

But you are, because I just wanted to tell you that you're wrong.

I'm not some powerless middle management just following orders. Miss...

You see, I didn't want to make the trade. It was my call.

I don't want this. I don't want this.

Now, I don't tell you how to do your job.

So, I'd appreciate it if you didn't tell me how to do mine.

Who's that man talking to? He looks kind of weird.

Don't worry about that. Sometimes people are silly.

You see, they don't see me till it's their time.

Oh, it's okay, Howard. It's not your time yet.

I just wanted to return this and clear things up between us.

I really am Death, Howard!

He believed me.

I'm telling you he believed me.

That's amazing. I mean, that was spectacular.

Because there was no safety net, you see.

That... That... That was Grotowski.

That was pure Stella Adler! Ah!

Thank you. Thank you for the opportunity. Yes.

You are a kind man. Oh, not a problem.

He believed me, I'm telling you. I wouldn't go that far.

But he needed it. I could tell. I could tell in his eyes.

Who was that woman and that little boy? That was incredible.

Oh, that was our private investigator and her grandson.

Oh, really? And did she say anything about me?

She said you were good. She said really good.

"Good"? What do you mean? Good like...

You mean good like cabbage is good, or what?

No, no. She... Great.

She said, she said, "She made the impossible possible."

I should be paying you.

They told me that Trevor had packed his little suitcase, that he said he was going home.

I was furious.

But he was sleeping, so I couldn't talk to him.

I mean, what nurse promises this dying five-year-old little boy he could go home?

He barely had any white blood cells left.

He was so fragile.

And who could be so cruel?

Who could do that?

So, of course I'm frantic.

I am shouting at the staff, trying to get to the bottom of it.

Well, Trevor finally wakes up and I go to him.

You know, his little blue suitcase was still at the edge of the bed, right.

So, I look at him and ask, "Who said that to you, sweetie?

"Who said that you could come back to our house?"

You know what he says?

"Nobody, Mommy.

"I'm not going back to our house.

"I'm going home."

He died four hours later.

Hello.

Hi.

Are you looking for Smallest Wings Support Group?

Um...

Yes. And you are?

Um, Howard. Howard.

Come on in. Have a seat.

Did you lose a child, Howard?

Yeah.

Boy or girl? Uh...

A girl.

And what was her name?

No, it's okay. Howard.

You don't have to answer.

You don't even have to talk, okay?

You stick around?

Please?

Okay.

Thank you so much for sharing.

We really appreciate it.

Thank you.

Does anybody have anything else they'd like to say?

So, why'd you decide to come in tonight?

Hmm?

Yeah, I've... I've seen you outside.

I was gonna come out one night and invite you in, but I guess I didn't want to blow up your spot.

Blow up my spot?

Yeah.

You didn't want to mess up my jam?

Exactly.

What's your name?

I'm Madeline.

Nice to meet you.

My daughter's name was Olivia.

She died of a rare form of brain cancer known as Glioblastoma Multiforme, or GBM for short.

She was six years old.

What was your daughter's name, Howard?

Okay.

Fine. Don't answer. I'm not gonna torture you.

Thank you.

Was it the holidays? Mmm?

Why you decided to come in tonight.

We get a lot of first-timers during the holidays.

No, that's not it. Then why tonight?

Uh, I guess...

I'm, uh...

I'm trying to fix my mind.

You lost a child, Howard.

It'll never be fixed.

I hope you come back.


Hey.

Signed contracts and confidentiality agreements.

Oh, great. Thank you. So, did he say something?

Who, Howard?

No. Unfortunately, he didn't. Oh, he believed it, I'm telling you.

Oh, that's good. Maybe you should send me in again.

Not Raffi. Raffi's too impetuous.

And Amy, she's just so emotional.

After me, what is there?

Well, he did write three letters.

But Death is so much more vital than Time.

Right. Death gives Time all of its value.

Maybe... Maybe I should play all the parts.

You know the highest margin demographic is new parents now?

Target actually invented an algorithm to predict when their female customers were gonna get pregnant.

You said before that you weren't okay.

Are you sick?

I'm sick.

You could say, uh, I'm very sick.

You're dying?

Everyone's dying.

Yeah, but you're doing it now.

Simon. Simon.

Come on, tell me. Tell me. What is it? What's wrong?

What's wrong?

What's wrong is that I came out of remission two weeks before my son was born.

What's wrong is that I'm running a marathon every day pretending to be healthy.

That's what's wrong.

Have you told anyone?

You haven't?

No, just some pushy actress that I don't really know.

What is it?

It's multiple myeloma.

I fought it when I was 16, and then again when I was 25.

It just never went away.

Instead it regrouped and got stronger.

So, the war's over?

Yeah, war's over.

Are your affairs in order?

My affairs are not in order.

That's why I hired you.

It's bad enough that I'm leaving my family.

I'm not gonna leave them penniless.

He believed me.

Howard.

He believed me.

Hey. Excuse me. No, don't touch that.

I don't understand dominoes.

There's no board to play them on, or basket to throw them into.

Right. Um...

I think you might be in the wrong place.

No, I'm in the right place, Howard.

Mmm. Yeah.

"Time, they say you heal all wounds, "but they don't talk about how you destroy all that's good in the world.

"How you turn beauty into ash."

Now that's some bullshit, Howard.

If Love is creation and Death is destruction, I'm just a terrain in between.

You don't understand Time. No one understands Time.

I mean, Einstein came close when he said I was an illusion.

Howard? Hey. Uh...

Listen, I'm sure it's a "no" but Oneida Apparel asked that you be in the media buy meeting.

I'm sorry to just barge in.

Ask her.

Go ahead. Ask her if she can see me.

I'm not gonna be in the meeting.

Mmm-hmm.

Well, they insisted I ask.

I mean, they're probably gonna fire us, so...

Okay.

Awesome. Yes.

Okay.

See you later.

You can have this back, Howard.

Why did you write me anyway?

You wrote me because you need me.

No. Um...

I don't need anything from you, okay?

You all like to bitch and complain.

"There isn't enough time."

"Life is short."

"Oh, here, the gray hairs are coming in."

You know, a day is long as hell.

I'm abundant. I'm a gift.

Even while you're standing here talking shit, I'm gifting you, and you're wasting it.

On what?

I mean, what is this? Huh?

Hey, hey!

You know, I should be the one that's writing angry letters.

That was the worst thing I've ever done.

That was the best thing I've ever done.

What was that thing you said about Einstein in there?

Einstein called time a stubbornly persistent illusion.

What's that even mean?

Time doesn't go from January to December, or from noon to midnight.

You know, we all just make it that way in our heads.

That's absurd.

Try telling that to a person who's an hour late to a wedding or was just sentenced to 20 years in jail.

Or someone fighting a baby clock.

We really don't need to have this conversation, ever.

Anyway, just...

Yeah, wanted to say great job today.

Just a stubborn illusion, Claire.

You have all the time in the world.

You're nine!

"You're nine."

Hi.

I'm sorry.

I'm so sorry.

Um...

You gotta be friggin' kidding me.

I'm eating.

You said goodbye, and that...

We don't get to choose who we love or who loves us back.

And that means you're powerless to me as long as you're alive because I'm the fabric of life.

I'm within you. I'm within everything.

Howard, if you can accept that, then maybe...

I don't know, but maybe you get to live again.

I completely screwed it up.

I was weepy and apologetic.

Well, I think love can be weepy and apologetic.

I think I was better at the end.

Hey, hey. I'm sure you were great.

You're sweet.

Can I kiss you?

You don't have to sexualize it.

I can kiss you without sexualizing it.

Seriously, I've had sex without sexualizing it.

You should take "sweet," Whit.

It's a promotion.

"Irresistible" would be a promotion.

He believes it.

How could you tell?

I could tell by his eyes.

That's great, but no one else has seen it and that's ultimately what we need to have happen.

We think if you would engage with him one more time, um, in public. Great. Mmm-hmm.

But this time try to...

But you need to provoke a strong visible reaction.

Why?

Because our private investigator's gonna capture it on video.

And we're gonna use it as evidence.

It'll be like being in a movie.

Except you'll be digitally removed.

No.

Sorry?

This is too intense.

Um, I'm sorry. I can't be a part of this.

Amy, there is no "too intense" in acting.

Do you wanna be loved or do you wanna make an impact?

I mean, this isn't Noel Coward.

This is... This is Chekhov.

This is horrible!

The... You know, you did start the agency with him, didn't you, Whit?

And, Claire, he was your mentor.

And, Simon, he gave you part ownership in a business when he absolutely didn't have to.

I may have told her a few things...

Mmm-hmm.

...when we were... Mmm-hmm.

I'm sorry, this is horrible.

I... I can't... No, I can't be a part of this. Thank you.

Sorry. Thanks. Amy, no.

Amy.

Amy. No.

Oh, she's so passionate, you know.

Amy!

I'm so sorry. She will be back.

But if she isn't, um, I'll step in. I do know all about love.

Amy!

What'd I miss?

People crying because their kids died.

Hmm. Uh...

Uh, there's a thing called bereavement hallucinations.

Yes.

Right. Um. Okay.

So, uh...

I looked them up.

And here's the thing. I don't sleep.

Okay.

Like, not a lot.

I mean, I sleep.

Mmm.

But I get six or seven hours a week.

Now that I think about it, that's probably why...

Why what?

Um...

I'm having conversations.

Mmm-hmm.

I mean, conversations.

Okay.

It's okay. Never mind. Um...

Howard? Yeah.

You wanna have a conversation with me?

Uh, yes.

So, I assume you're a part of the 79%?

Mmm?

Of couples who get divorced after losing a child.

Yeah.

Mmm.

Yeah, me too.

Do you still love her?

I don't even know what love is anymore.

Do you still love him?

We never fell out of love.

At least, I don't think so. It's just...

We can...

The day our divorce was final, he sent me this.

"If only we could be strangers again."

Now we are.

The most romantic gesture he ever made.

So, to answer your question, yes, I still love him.

What did you mean when you said you were having conversations?

Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah.

Conversations with who? Um...

It's not "who."

It's really... It's...

You're gonna think I'm crazy.

Try me.

Um, can I show you?

"Dead tissue that won't decompose."

He was sitting right here.

Just a mean, little, arrogant thug.

And he was the first one that appeared, right?

Uh, no. Death came first.

She met me in the dog park.

Oh, so Death is a "her"?

Uh, yeah. It turns out Death is an elderly white woman.

What was the trade?

You said Death wouldn't make the trade.

What does that mean?

When we realized our...

My daughter was dying, I prayed, uh...

Not to God or the universe, but to Death.

I offered a trade.

Take me, leave my daughter.

But she didn't wanna make the trade, so...

So, who won that round?

You or the porcelain?

Porcelain. Porcelain's undefeated.

I'm sorry about that, I thought everyone left.

Yes, they did. But I'm here to close up.

Good.

You need help getting home?

No. I'm fine.

I'm... I'm good.

I Googled you.

You did? Yeah.

Oh, God.

You came from nothing.

You put yourself through Duke, you married a wonderful woman, you're a loving father.

So, you lived well. You lived right.

But, my friend, you're not dying right.

Are you gonna tell me how to die?

Have you told your family yet?

Mmm-mmm. You're not helping them.

You're just denying them what is rightfully theirs.

Yeah? And what's that?

Pain? Atrophy? Disease?

Yes. Yes.

All of it.

And the chance to say goodbye.

Stick to acting.

Okay.

I have something that I haven't told anyone.

It doesn't involve letters or angels or anything like that, but it means something to me.

They were preparing Olivia to say goodbye.

And my husband was trying to calm my mother in the parking lot because she lost it.

So I was alone and I was sitting there in the waiting room at Maimonides Hospital.

And there was this woman who sat next to me.

And she asked me who I was about to lose.

And I told her.

And she looked at me and she said, "Just be sure to notice

"the collateral beauty."

I mean, she...

She said it so casually.

In the next room, my six-year-old daughter was being taken off life support.

And this woman says "collateral beauty."

People don't know what to say in those moments.

No, she did.

I just didn't get it at the time.

See, it wasn't said out of sympathy or awkwardness.

It was from experience.

About a year later, something started to happen to me, you know.

I would be walking or on the subway, whatever, and I would just burst into tears.

But these weren't Olivia tears.

These were tears born from something else,

from this kind of profound connection to everything.

And I realized it was the collateral beauty.

I mean, there's...

There's no such thing as collateral beauty.

There is, Howard.

There really is.

It'll never bring her back.

And it will never ever make it okay.

But I promise you, it's there.

Okay.

You need to talk to them, Howard.

Look, um...

Appreciate your story, but I'm not really feeling the "collateral beauty" thing.

I don't care!

Yell at them, reason with them, challenge them.

Just engage!

I think this was a mistake.

Hi. Hi.

What're you doing here?

Uh, Brigitte told me this is where I could find you.

Of course she did.

Could we just go and talk somewhere for 15 minutes by ourselves?

I'm... I'm actually working. I'm rehearsing right now.

You're rehearsing here, too? Yeah.

How many projects are you doing at the same time?

I'm currently doing three.

Three. Wow.

Yeah. That's really busy.

How are we gonna fit a dinner date in?

Whit...

Listen, listen, listen. Seriously...

I have to ask you to reconsider what you said last night.

We need you one more time.

Just give us one more scene.

I am out.

Amy, what do you...

Wait, what can I say? What do you...

I'll give you $100,000. Not 20, 100.

You don't have $100,000.

You're right. I live with my mother.

But this is gonna work, and when it does, I'll have much, much more.

And I'll give you a million.

I don't want your money. I really will.

I do not want your money.

Do you know, I've actually never wanted your money.

What can I say to get you to do this?

Because there's so much more at stake here, you have no idea.

Oh.

You have a daughter, right?

Yeah.

Did we talk about that?

Tell me what it was like the day that she was born.

What?

What it felt like for you.

Uh, it was scary.

It was very scary. I was terrified.

But then they gave her to me and I had the most amazing sensation run through me.

It... I can't...

What? Finish it.

It sounds... It's goofy.

No, it doesn't sound goofy.

Do you know, actually, this is the first time that I felt any attraction towards you, whatsoever.

Really? Yes.

I looked at her and I...

I realized that I wasn't feeling love.

I had become love.

She doesn't talk to me now, though.

She blames me for the divorce, and so she's angry at me.

And...

I deserve it.

I'm gonna make you a deal.

If you can take all of this, frankly, aggressive determination

and extraordinary openness and use it on winning your daughter back,

then I'll do it.

It's a deal.

See, you don't feel that?

Oh, wow. Give me my hand back.

You feel that though, right? You feel it?

That's sparks. Goodbye, Whit.

That's what that is.


Hey! What's up?

What? You got something to say?

You got something you wanna say?

Oh, yeah. I got a lot of things I'd like to say to you.

Well, say it. Say it!

See, you just waste time.

See, I give you a gift and you just waste it!

I don't care about time.

This is a prison sentence!

I don't want your gift!

Because you took hers.


Oh, come on.

Are you here to take me?

No, Howard. I'm here to ride the F train with you.

Oh, okay.

So, there are these two twins in a womb, a boy and a girl.

You telling a joke?

No, no. It's a story.

So, these twins are happy.

They're fed, they're warm, they feel safe.

But they're outgrowing their space and they realize this can't go on forever.

So they start thinking, "What comes next?

"What if it's cold or lonely?

"What if we're not together?

"What if there's nothing at all?"

So, then the girl looks at the cord.

This cord that has fed them, has nourished them, this cord that they can't possibly conceive could be attached to anything else.

And she says, "Well, we have no proof.

"All we have is this."

No.

Wow, that's deep.

So, it's like life after birth.

Hopeful.

All right, what do you want?

Why are you here?

I've heard all of your platitudes.

I got them, I know.

"She's in a better place."

And, "This is all a part of a master plan."

Heard that one, too.

Here's my favorite.

"God looked down and saw the most beautiful rose, "so beautiful that he picked it

"to have it in Heaven all for Himself."

Then there's the science, biocentrism, and we're all living and dying in infinite universes all at the same time.

And then the religion, the Christians and their salvation, and the Buddhists and their Samsara, and the Hindus and their 41 st sacrament.

And can't forget the poetry.

Oh, the poetry.

"To die is different from what anyone supposed

"and luckier."

Whitman.

And, "Rage...

"Rage against the dying of the light.

"Though wise men at their end know dark is right."

Thomas. And then...

Row, row, row your boat gently down the stream Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily Life is but a dream I got it.

I got it!

It all basically says that you're a natural part of life, we shouldn't hate you, we shouldn't fear you.

I guess we should just accept you, right?

That's it?

I get it. Here's the thing.

It's all a bunch of intellectual bullshit because she's not here holding my fucking hand.

Oh, Lord, what a beautiful city Oh, Lord, what a beautiful city Twelve gates to the city Hallelujah Amen, amen Who are all those children All dressed up in white Hi, Howard.

You gonna cry again?

You don't like it when I'm sad?

Ah, aren't you always sad? No.

No, I can be other things. I can be happy.

I can be unexpected and unpredictable... Huh.

...and sexy and warm and mysterious and...

And home.

I can be home, Howard, you remember?

Do you remember me?

Listen. All the "fabric of life" bullshit, save that for somebody else.

It's not bullshit.

I know you don't believe me, but you have to trust me.

Trust you?

Trust you? Yes!

I did trust you!

And you betrayed me!

I saw you every day in her eyes, and I heard you in her voice when she laughed, and I felt you inside of me when she called me "Daddy."

And you betrayed me!

You broke my heart.

No.

I'm in all of it.

I'm the darkness and the light, I'm the sunshine and the storm.

Yes, you're right.

I was there in her laugh, but I'm also here now in your pain.

I'm the reason for everything.

I am the only "why."

Don't try and live without me, Howard.

Please don't.


The deal with Omnicom's almost done.

What about Howard?

Well, they're aware of the situation but we still have to prove that Howard's ability to vote is, uh, compromised.

I can't believe it's come down to this.

Yeah, well, believe it.

We have a competency meeting with the board set for Thursday.

We're here to give you a chance to explain this.

Howard, what are you doing in this video?

I do not care about time.

This is a prison sentence!

I don't want your gift!

What are you doing, Howard?

Because you took hers.

Howard?

You gonna cry again?

Aren't you always sad?

What about here?

Listen. All the "fabric of life" bullshit, save that for somebody else.

Trust you?

Trust you?

I did trust you!

I committed everything to you and you betrayed me!

I saw you every day in her eyes, and I heard you in her voice when she laughed.

And I felt you inside of me...

Howard?

...when she called me "Daddy."

Howard?

You broke my heart.

Howard, I need you to answer me.

Who are you shouting at here?

I've heard all of your platitudes. I got them, I know.

Um, it's not "who."

And, "This is all a part of a master plan."

I'm sorry, what?

I got it.

Howard, did you say something?

I'm not talking to people.

Well, that's obvious. Who are you talking to?

Howard, who are you talking to?

That's enough. It's enough.

Thank you.

You made the point, I think.

Just turn it off.

You hired people to follow me?

Make video?

No, that wasn't the initial intention.

No, we did.

Yeah, we did.

We did a lot more than that, Howard.

Howard, I'm so sorry.

We felt like...

We didn't know what else to do.

Claire. No. I can't do this anymore.

I can't do this anymore, Whit.

Listen, I really...

I didn't even think that it was gonna work.

Really, honestly, I... Claire. Claire. Claire.

I'm so sorry.

All right, all right, all right. Howard...

I'm obviously not in the right state of mind.

Maybe none of us are.

You think I haven't noticed?

I mean, Claire, you dedicated your entire life to this agency.

You made us your family when you could have been starting your own.

And, uh, you've been absolutely killing yourself, covering for me, and I appreciate that.

Thank you.

And, Simon, you've done your best to hide it from everyone, but I know your history.

And I suspect I'm making an already impossible situation even worse for you.

I promise you, as long as I am here, your family will be cared for.

Thank you.

Whit.

Best friend I've ever had.

But I'm disappointed in you, man.

I mean, not for... Not for this.

Not for this.

You don't need her permission to be her father.

Allison's the best thing you got happening in this world, and tomorrow's not promised.

Do you hear me?

You guys did the right thing.

I want our agency to survive.

Something should.

All right, um...

I'll sign the papers now.

Your approval of the sale.

Uh, the other one?

The one you called me six times to have me sign.

Um, I assume you have it here with you.

I am sorry, Howard.

This is the right thing.

I'm telling you, this is the right thing.

Excuse me.

What was that second piece of paper?

Howard put some of his ownership into a trust in his daughter's name.

It's just a legal certificate saying she's no longer with us.

I think I need a drink.


Are you okay?


"They say that the time in Heaven

"is compared to the blink of an eye

"for us on this Earth.

"Sometimes I think of Adam running

"through a beautiful field of wild flowers.

"He's so happy, completely caught up in what he's doing.

"But then he looks back

"like he used to do when he ran ahead of me

"in airports or malls or wherever.

"And he smiles."

Jesus.

"Because the blink of his eye was the rest of my life

"and I'm right there behind him."

Anyway, it's a first draft.

It's beautiful.

Really beautiful.

Does anybody else wanna say anything?

Okay, I guess that's all for tonight.

Thank you.


Sorry, sorry.

Yo!

I can't believe you made me come into this neighborhood carrying $20,000 in cash.

What are you gonna do with it?

You should put it aside for acting school.

You were really good.

Mmm. I'm gonna use it to buy designer drugs.

Or that, too.

Yeah.

Hey, you gonna make a good mom one day.

Yeah?

Yeah, well, that's pretty much not in the cards.

I decided against the science and it seems time finally caught up with me.

There was this dust dealer up on 187th who gave me Brave New World.

That book turned hours into seconds.

He was my father.

And there was this homeless woman who lived under the University Heights bridge.

Her name was Flora.

She was batshit crazy, but she told me the greatest stories.

She was my mother.

See, Claire, your children don't have to come from you.

They go through you.

So, I wouldn't consider the battle with time over just yet.

I thought time wasn't linear.

I thought it was an illusion.

Maybe that was just bullshit, Claire.

Maybe that was just acting.


Hey, Allison. Come on, let's go.

Oh. Come on. Allison!

I'll meet you guys there.

I don't wanna talk to you. You know that.

Leave me alone.

No. I won't leave you alone.

No? No.

I know you're angry at me, and that's okay.

I can take it.

But we gotta talk about it because that's what you do in a family.

So I'm gonna come here every day and embarrass you in front of your friends until you talk to me.

So you're gonna stalk me?

Well... Yes, basically.

Well, what if I get a restraining order?

Well, I don't think you're gonna be able to do that.

Well, I'll get Mom to pay for it.

Well, for your information, they're free.

Well, then I'll get you to pay for it.

I really love you.

Mom says you butcher that word.

Not when I say it to you.

Look...

I can't fly you to Maine for lunch or get you picked up in a Tesla and take you to your internship with Anna Wintour or whatever the hell they do in this neighborhood.

But I think that you and me can sit on a park bench and tell jokes and have a pretty good time.

I can't believe you're gonna stalk me.

But, um...

Just so you know, tomorrow's a half-day.

Well, I'll be here then.

Hey.

Here you are.

I've been waiting a long time for my moment for validation, and this was it.

An audience of one, in secret, with no applause.

I told my wife.

Oh, how did it go?

She knew.

She's getting ready for it.

You know, when I was younger, I used to think, you really wanna live to be 100 years old?

You know, like a shriveled up raisin.

And the answer to that now is yes.

Because my son would be 70, his son would be 40, and his son would be 10.

And I would be the man, you know.

Pops.

Could get used to that, you know.

See you around, Pops.

I wish I could be here to see the play.

Oh, no, no. The play is dead after all this.

But you never know, nothing's ever really dead if you look at it right.


Hey.

Hey.

Uh, it's Christmas Eve.

Mmm-hmm.

And you're alone.

By choice.

Can I ruin that?


You've been crying.

I was watching a video I took of my daughter.

She's dancing with her father in it.

Can I show it to you, Howard?


My daughter's name was Olivia.

She died of a rare form of brain cancer known as Glioblastoma Multiforme, or GBM for short.

She was six years old.

What was your daughter's name, Howard?

"If only we could be strangers again."

What was your daughter's name, Howard?

I can't.

I... I can't.

Swing me faster!

Faster, Daddy! Faster!

Howard...

I feel like a bird.

Say her name.

What was her name?

Olivia.

Her name was Olivia.

How did she die?

She had a rare form of cancer called Glioblastoma Multiforme, or GBM for short.

She was only six years old.

Her name was Olivia.

She had a rare form of cancer called Glioblastoma Multiforme, or GBM for short.

She was only six years old.

Our baby's name was Olivia.

She was only six years old.

What are you guys doing?

You ready? You ready?

Go, go!

Now we start all over again.

You ready?

We start all over again.


Are you losing somebody?

I'm sorry?

Who are you losing?

Um, my daughter.

Just make sure you notice the collateral beauty.

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