Very loosely based upon a short story by the great American author F. Scott Fitzgerald, THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON is a beautiful movie that is both personal in focus, but epic in scope. Set mostly in New Orleans, the film follows the life of a baby boy whose mother dies during his birth on Armistice Day, the end of WWI, November 11, 1918. The baby is so deformed that his father considers killing the child by dropping him in the river, but is stopped by a policeman. Startled the father runs through some streets and down and alley and leaves the baby on the steps of the first reasonable house he comes to. It turns out that the "house" is actually a retirement home for the elderly and the baby is found by the chief caretaker of the place, Queenie (Taraji P. Henson). Queenie is unable to have children of her own and decides to adopt the child because even if it does look like a devil, it is one of God's children, too. She names the baby Benjamin and in time he begins to grow. As time goes on it appears that instead of growing older Benjamin is growing younger. Such a curious case that Benjamin Button.
THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON features some extraordinary acting. Brad Pitt gained most of the attention for his performance as Benjamin, but Pitt's performance is really overrated. I'm not saying he doesn't do a good job, but Pitt actually doesn't show up as Benjamin until about a third of the way through the movie. The reason Benjamin Button is so memorable as a character isn't because of Pitt's acting ability, but because of the makeup and special effects. The real star performers in the film are Cate Blanchett as Daisy and Taraji P. Henson as Queenie. Blanchett is one of the best actresses of the age and Henson proves that she is a rising star. The visual effects, set design, costumes, cinematography, and editing are all notable. In addition, the film has a wonderful score that augments the story that is told. This is the rare movie where all the elements of the movie come together seamlessly as they help create the realistic and authentic world from the past in this fictional tale.
Like most great works of art, there are a several meanings you can take away from THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON. There are some who feel the movie is about death and how one goes about facing death. There is an underlying tone of sadness that pervades the picture. However, this sadness is underlying and isn't always prominent. I believe that instead of death and dying, THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON is, instead, about living. It is true that many characters in the movie die or are in various stages of death throughout the movie. But as Benjamin tells the audience from his own journal, death is just a part of life. All of us have to die, but it is up to us to choose whether to live or just exist and if we chose to live it is also our choice of how we will live. Death, disease, war, accidents, and lost love are all a part of life, but despite the sadness and sorrow life truly is beautiful and the world is full of wonder if we only choose to see it.
It should be noted that there are two versions of THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON available on DVD. If you are looking for just the movie with no frills, you'll want to purchase the single disc version. However, if you're a bit of a cinemaphile or are a huge fan of the film, you'll probably want to check out the special two-disc version that has a ton of special features, including interviews, featurettes, and special coverage from the film's premiere.
Brad Pitt plays Benjamin Button, a man born old who ages backwards as the years pass, so that when he dies, he's an infant. Cate Blanchett is his love interest but there didn't seem to be much chemistry between the two. I also didn't like her character - she seemed too self-absorbed. I guess I thought this would be along the lines of Forest Gump, showing historical events that coincided with Button's life, and it does this only in a minor way. Pitt does a good job with the role and his narrative … more
For all his good looks and great physique, Brad Pitt has an uncanny ability to pick great movies that explore the human experience and human psyche. With movies such as Se7en, Jesse James, Babel, Seven Years in Tibet, and now this hit from late 2008, Mr. Pitt has established himself as one of the top actors over the past 2 decades with great performances in multiple genres. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button is probably Pitt's best work, as he carried the film. Unlike previous movies, he shares … more
2 hours and 45 minutes, be prepared. It's a long movie, no doubt about that. Aside from a bit of wandering at about 30 minutes in, the film really moves along at a good pace and, in the end, doesn't seem almost 3 hours long. It's a very enjoyable movie. The bad about this film, the DVD transfer. This is one of the poorest DVD transfers I've seen in a very long time. In fact I'd almost forgotten what compression artifacts looked like. Oh my, they are present in this film. There's … more
In short... zzzzz... Oh, it wasn't a bad movie, but it was quite boring and way too long. The last fifteen minutes were almost enough to redeem it, but not quite. You know the plot by now. Brad Pitt plays a man who ages backwards. Born as a wrinkly, ugly baby, his father abandons him, and he's raised by a black woman who works/lives in an old folks home. We follow Benjamin through all the stages of his life in great, great detail. You see him working … more
The technical dazzle ofThe Curious Case of Benjamin Buttonis a truly astonishing thing to behold: this story of a man who ages backwards requires Brad Pitt to begin life as a tiny elderly man, then blossom into middle age, and finally, wisely, become young. How director David Fincher--with makeup artists, special-effects wizards, and body doubles--achieves this is one of the main sources of fascination in the early reels of the movie. The premise is loosely borrowed from an F. Scott Fitzgerald story (and bears an even stronger resemblance to Andrew Sean Greer's novel The Confessions of Max Tivoli), with young/old Benjamin growing up in New Orleans, meeting the girl of his dreams (Cate Blanchett), and sharing a few blissful years with her until their different aging agendas send them in opposite directions. The love story takes over the second half of the picture, as Eric Roth's script begins to resemble his work on Forrest Gump. This is too bad, because Benjamin's early life is a wonderfully picaresque journey, especially a set of midnight liaisons with a Russian lady (Tilda Swinton) in an atmospheric hotel. Fincher observes all this with an entomologist's eye, cool and exacting, which keeps the material from getting all gooey. Still, the Hurricane Katrina framing story feels put-on, and the movie lets Benjamin slide offscreen during its later stages--curious indeed.--Robert Horton
Stills from The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (Click for larger ...