The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Brad Pitt, Cate Blanchett, Taraji P. Henson, Julia Ormond, Jason Flemyng, Elias Koteas, Tilda Swinton
“The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” is one of those films that is so absorbing you may need to see it a second time to appreciate its beauty and provocation of the meaning of life.
The shining star is of course Brad Pitt, yet credit must be given to the ensemble efforts of so many that makes this film memorable. David Fincher, as director (“Fight Club”) gives an Oscar-worthy effort in spinning a yarn of memorizing proportions that defy credibility and yet, allows the audience to believe in the film’s premise. Based upon a short story by F. Scott Fitzgerald, “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” was made into a screenplay by Eric Roth and Robin Swicord.
The story is about Benjamin Button who was born in New Orleans in 1918. As any human being enters the world, it is with innocence and total dependency on a nurturing parent. Benjamin enters the world like any other infant yet is grossly disfigured with the characteristics of an aging old man. His features are grotesque. So much so that his own father abandons him and leaves him on a doorstep for someone else to raise.
A black woman who runs a nursing home for the elderly takes unconditional responsibility for Benjamin, saying that all God’s creatures have a right to live no matter how they look. Queenie (Taraji P. Henson) who fiercely believes in Benjamin, nurtures him and sees unlimited possibility for his unnatural life. The performance rendered here is so inspiring that disabilities, race, prejudices and all social constraints transcend boundaries of acceptance. Queenie helps the audience understand the possibility of Benjamin actually functioning and participating in a life where he becomes younger physically and matures chronologically as time passes.
So many facets of this film serve to make us question the purpose of life. Incredible technical photography to manipulate the image of an aging old man growing into a younger, more youthful specimen and the authentic historical recreation of New Orleans in the early South with the costuming and detail to dialect and most succinctly the voiceovers of Benjamin that explains the discovery for the meaning of his life all join together to challenge the obsession we have with our youth-driven culture. Is it the age of our bodies that make life worth living or is it the life we live within those bodies that matter?
Add the fine acting of Cate Blanchett as Allison playing Benjamin’s life-long love, and a movie of exquisite storytelling is presented on the screen. Most notably, the resolution in this love story of the star-crossed lovers is told with such dignity and intelligence that one could only be appreciative to the talents of F. Scott Fitzgerald who wrote the story of “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.” And to all those who made this film a collaborative joint effort to tell a story of awe and wonder.
FYI: This movie is more than two and a half hours long. My only constructive criticism would have been to shorten it by 30 minutes.
Chic Stars: Four Chic Stars.
Jan’s Movie Rating System:
5 – Top-notch entertainment
4 – Compelling, Heartwarming, Thrilling, Comical
3 – The a) story b) actors c) special effects saved/made this movie.
2 – If you are bored, watch it, or wait for DVD
1 – Don’t bother. Too morose, too violent, too blasè, an enigma.
Photo: Courtesy of FirstShowing.net