The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
I’m not going to lie, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button had me excited for months after I first saw the trailer and the best thing about it, it didn’t disappoint. It’s based on a short story of the same name by F. Scott Fitzgerald. Many things changed from one medium to the other but there is quite a bit that stayed. This Golden Globe nominated film tells the story of Benjamin Button from birth to death, but the special thing about him is he was born elderly and dies as an infant, all the while growing a year younger every year. An important fact, though, is that his mind is still that of his actual age, so he has the demeanor of a 5-year old in a 75-year old body or the knowledge of a 70-year old in a 10-year old body. The story is told through a notebook he wrote later in life to his reoccurring love. It tells his adventures, his mishaps, and most importantly his thoughts. Other parts of the story are told by his love, who is lying on her death bed in a hospital as her daughter reads the memoir to her.
Brad Pitt stars as the titular character in one of his best roles ever. He is able to play a man from all different age brackets, except for those as a child, with great ease, a feat that is only surpassed by Orson Welles. The makeup used is perfect as Pitt looks in his 60s at the beginning of the movie and fresh out of high school towards the end. The makeup also helps a 10, a 50 and a 60 year old play the character of Benjamin through different stages in his life and still look like an aged Pitt. Cate Blanchett is Daisy, the love of Benjamin’s life, over many generations. With help, she is also able to look like she ranges from 20 to 60.
One thing that helps the character of Benjamin move through these different actors is his demeanor. He’s more of a watcher. Although he wanted to play as a kid, he was hindered by his physical abilities of being in a 70 year old body and confined to a wheelchair. He also grew up in a retirement home, so his only friends are those who mainly sit and watch the world. This continues through all the ages. He watches his shipmates while he works on a fishing boat; he watches his friends die during WWII; he watches Daisy dance ballet; and he watches her age as he grows younger.
This lifelong tale feels that long too. Its run time is almost three hours making it a tough movie to sit in one spot and finish. But I’ll tell you, it’s well worth it, especially when you notice the Oscar nominations come January 22nd, and it’s up for a few awards. Yeah, it’s that good.
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