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The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (Review)

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (Review)

Where life serves up many opportunities...
Dec 27, 2008
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The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (Review), reviewed by Katina Vangopoulos on 2008-12-27T00:33:10+00:00 rating 4.5 out of5

“Will you still love me when I have more wrinkles than you?”

“Will you still love me when I’m in diapers?”

“Well, we all end up in diapers…”

And so is the tale of one curious Benjamin Button. The story of a man who grows younger, the opposite to everyday life, and becomes more experienced with his younger appearance than those with even the most withered faces. This coming-of-age story is different to others not just because of his predicament but because of the beautiful way it is told; the wonderful interweaving stories all come back into the main story of his life – his love for Daisy.

An interesting concept first brought to us as a short story by the great F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button tells us about Benjamin (Brad Pitt), who is abandoned at birth in 1918 by his father Thomas (Jason Flemyng) because of his unkindly appearance. He is taken in by Queenie (Taraji P. Henson), an African-American woman who teaches him what she can about life, and during his childhood years learns much more than he bargained for because of his older appearance. In his journeys as an adult, and as he starts looking and feeling younger, learning about love, loss and his past help to mould him into the person he is meant to be. That includes being honest about his love for Daisy (Cate Blanchett), who was apart from him for so long.

bb1 495x246 custom The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (Review)

While similar in the vein of films like Forrest Gump and Big Fish, The Curious Case links us between the past and the present as Hurricane Katrina is closing in on New Orleans (a modern but worthy addition to the story). As Benjamin’s tale opens up to us, it’s clear that it isn’t just a story about one man’s life, but about the opportunities it brings. Whether they pass us or we take them, there is always a consequence that affects somebody in a good or bad way. The relationship between Benjamin and Daisy is so complex because they grow in such different directions, but all the while they are linked by their want to stay in each others’ lives. Bad timing is one of those things in life that seem to get you down at the best of times, and we are given a showcase here of how much it can affect you and those surrounding you.

David Fincher is no stranger to difference, or oddities for that matter, as his seven films have all been unique in story and ideals. Working with Brad Pitt for the third time (after Se7en and Fight Club), Fincher clearly gets the most out of his talent. Some of that may have to do with the extraordinary prosthetics, which must be mentioned. Pitt steals the show with his varying ages, and both he and Cate Blanchett look astonishing in their younger sequences. What is most exciting to watch though is the ability to reinvigorate an actor that is so accosted by Hollywood – we see just how underestimated he can be in his line of work. Pitt gives us some funny scenes in the first part of the film while still a child; his naivety with the face of an octogenarian is touching and yet unquestionably believable. Blanchett has no problem convincing us being a Southern belle. Showing off ballerina skills on top of a heartbreaking performance, her versatility is again effortlessly shown. The complexity of Benjamin and Daisy’s relationship is portrayed with truly beautiful chemistry by the two and is unobtrusively obvious. Fincher has interwoven the flashbacks and the present wonderfully as we discover how much Benjamin means to everyone. Accompanied by a moving score, he captures the essence of a time gone by, and even as it draws closer to the present we are still taken away by how this man moves through his life. There’s such a beauty about a film that doesn’t make you question the characters, when you know what needs to be known and how that’s relevant. Benjamin is who he is, and that’s that.


This is a touching and poignant film as we take a look down one person’s Memory Lane and how he lived his life without regret or fear. Fitzgerald’s story is designed for us to see into our own lives and has some true moral thought about how we should conduct ourselves during the time we have. This works to the film’s advantage as it hits an emotional nerve that will stay with you throughout. An unexpected tearjerker, The Curious Case has been brought to the big screen with wonderful direction and performances. This could have come out horribly wrong, but it has been handled in a beautiful manner that will remain resonant for some time.

Follow the author Katina Vangopoulos on Twitter.

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