The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008) Poster

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An Astonishing Rarity
acksurfer10126 December 2008
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button is a film unlike any I've ever seen and probably ever will. A true epic that left me utterly speechless. It accomplished so much through such simplicity. Everything was top notch from the elegant directing to the subtly wonderful performances down to the magical score. The film demands you to feel not only for the death we witness, but for the incredible life we discover. It prays on the obvious morality issues we all deal with but also dangles the idea in front of us that everyone goes through the same joys and grievances, just not in the same way. This is a momentous tale that deserves nothing less than the title of brilliance.

This visually and emotionally rich movie recalls the life of a very peculiar man born in the early 20th century who ages backwards. His tale unfolds through a diary read by the daughter of his love, Daisy. Throughout life he goes through the same things we do, growing up and eventually growing old. He's a thoughtful observer, discovering life from all different angles. But it is not his life that makes him unique. His love is what makes him special. He spends a lifetime trying to understand how his love for Daisy works and still only gets a few incredible years really loving her. As their lives tell us, the years of frustration and hardship are all worth it if only for a few moments of happiness.

The direction in the film is almost flawless. Hopefully, Benjamin Button will garner David Fincher the recognition he deserves. He winds this clock so well and with such grace that the movie has this undeniable flow that is enjoyable from start to finish. At nearly 3 hours, there is not a minute wasted. Every shot is jaw dropping and while some will find issue with the time, it is used wisely.

The acting is also a thing of wonder. This is by far Brad Pitt's best performance. He is so believable and realistic throughout. His nuances are spot on and despite the heavy use of make-up and CGI used to portray his character, it is Pitt who makes Benjamin that much more curious.

I left the theater astonished that some one could review this movie badly. It is an extremely graceful depiction of life, love, and the things we lose. After so much anticipation I was certainly not disappointed. This movie is probably not for everyone though. It's not your average drama that spoon feeds it's audience their emotions. It is something of awe and astonishment, an absolute gem. What makes our lives memorable are the moments we never seem to grasp long enough before letting go. Life in itself is indeed very, very curious and Benjamin Button is no less of a wonder.
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It's a Wonderful Life
moviemanMA21 December 2008
Before seeing The Curious Case of Benjamin Button I wondered how I would react to the story of a man who is born old and gets younger as he grows up. Of all of the stories I have come across, this is by far the most bizarre and intriguing. If i had to pick someone to bring this story to the screen I do no think David Fincher would have been my first choice.

How wrong I would have been. This film is by far one of the best if not the best of 2008. Fincher's direction is flawless! The film from start to finish does not let up. There are moments of joy and ecstasy followed by sorrow and understanding. Brad Pitt stars as Benjamin, a boy born an old man who must live his life in reverse. His friend from childhood, Daisy, is played by Cate Blanchett. The story is narrated from Benjamin's point of view with some particular highlights from Daisy.

The cast does nothing wrong. Pitt leads with Blanchett and a strong performance from Taraji P. Henson as Benjamin's surrogate mother Queenie, the only person in the world who seems to understand and truly love him from the start. Other cameos along the way bring a large array of characters, including Tilda Swinton, one of Benjamin's early love interests.

The film spans from the end of World War I to the the arrival of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans. The transitions from life stage to life stage and decade to decade are seamless. Fincher does a tremendous job at maintaining a steady flow of action and dialogue. There is not a dull moment in the film. The cinematography is superb and couples nicely with Fincher's style of accentuating certain colors to enhance a mood or moment.

There really is nothing wrong with this film. Even with a runtime of about 160 minutes, time just flies by, much like it does for Benjamin, only we are going forward. This is a tender and meaningful film you do not want to wish.
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As Time Goes By
ccthemovieman-16 May 2009
I found this to be an interesting film; certainly not boring as I had heard from a few people who saw it in the theater. To me, it was simply good storytelling.

Yes, it's slow, especially by today's movie standards, but it's certainly a unique story and it's nicely filmed, acted and directed. Story-wise, it's one of those films I understand if people love it or hate it. I'm somewhat in the middle and leaning toward the positive.

For a movie that runs for over 2 hours and 40 minutes and is not some suspense or action film, it has to be pretty good to hold one's interest. I can only speak for myself; it held my interest for 95 percent of it.

I think the first two-thirds of the movie is the best. Brad Pitt as "Benjamin Button" is pretty fascinating, as is the story of him growing up from a wrinkled, old man-baby to a mid-40s guy. When he re-unites with childhood friend "Daisy" (Cate Blanchett) and becomes her lover, the film bogs down in a few spots but few people are going to stop watching after investing two hours. It picks up again, especially in the last minutes when "Benjamin" begins to finally become younger than an adult.

There's a sadness to this story, especially near the end but overall, even though it's central theme seems to be "death," I don't think it's a depressing film. It does remind us, in a big way, that the longer we're around, the more death of friends and loved ones we witness. That's just a sad fact of life. I hear about it all time with my father, who is 91 years old and has seen almost all of his friends die.

It's especially true in this story when Benjamin starts off and has a lot of old friends to begin with! "Benjamin" was an odd person to me; you could root for him, yet not admire him. He often treated people only to satisfy his desires and could have been so much more. Yet, being "a fly on the wall" and observing his interesting life, was memorable, making this a film worthy of the time invested to watch it.

In the end, the movie made me appreciate the friends I do have, and not to take any of them for granted as life passes us by so fast, no matter what direction we're headed!
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Fincher's Magical Masterpiece
The_Amazing_Spy_Rises24 December 2008
Possibly the most anticipated winter film of 2008, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button is a curious film indeed. It's got an intriguing and completely absorbing story, as well as my favorite director, David Fincher, on the top of his game. With "Button", Fincher cements his place as one of the best directors alive, as his film is nothing short of magical, mesmerizing, riveting, ground breaking, and ultimately, timeless.

When I first heard about this movie, I had to was Fincher, the guy responsible for realistic, gripping, crime thrillers like Seven and Zodiac going to pull off the fantasy film of a lifetime? Armed with a massive budget, Fincher uses everything a director can use to craft the most charming and technically brilliant film of the year. It's a film to be cherished for ages.

"Button" has struck me like this because a recurring theme in the film is that age is only a number, and that we as people can choose what we do with our lives, no matter what our age is. What better way to tell this message than through a story where the titular character ages backwards, and must experience life in such a way? How does one fall in love when he could one day appear young enough to be his spouse's child? How does a 5 year old play with the neighborhood children when he's confined to a wheelchair stricken with old age? Fincher's epic explores our choices, lives, and the timelessness of life itself.

Brad Pitt plays the title role of Benjamin Button with a certain air of likability like he always does. While I felt he did a good job with the part, he didn't have to do much...Benjamin, fittingly, is a rather quiet character (I'd be willing to bet he narrates more than he actually talks in the film). In terms of acting, the film belongs to the ladies, Cate Blanchett and Taraji P. Henson in particular. Though Blanchett may seem overrated to some, there's no denying her unrivaled talent at playing a character as complex and deep as Daisy, and she pulls it off with ease and charisma. Taraji P. Henson will warm your heart as Benjamin's mother, as she's humorous, warm, and loving, so loving that I felt as if she was my mother.

The main complexity behind the film, especially with a director like David Fincher, is keeping the film grounded in reality, while maintaining the undeniable magic within. As a director, you don't want to lose too much of either quality, instead keeping a healthy balance of the two. I feel that Fincher accomplished this perfectly. He is mainly helped out by a magical score, and absolutely stunning cinematography (which immediately identified it as a Fincher film, because of the darkness and lighting of it).

Despite the wonder and awe of the film, mixed with the realism that Fincher always brings, the true allure of the film is not just Benjamin's aging problem, but the romance between Benjamin and Daisy, which is beautiful. Two people in love, regardless of age, time, or place. It's one of the most compelling romances of the year.

"Button" is also the most technically well made movie of 2008, as the true standouts are the Visual Effects and the Makeup, both of which are Oscar worthy. Pitt plays the character at almost every age, but it's almost impossible to tell when the CGI is being used on him. You know it's there, obviously, but you can't tell it's being used. When the transition is just smooth enough for the Visual Effects to be retired, but just rough enough to use makeup, it's absolutely perfect. If you've ever wanted to see Brad Pitt look 20 again, look no further, as the effects that make our actors young again (the same goes for Blanchett) are just as stunning as those that make them older.

Despite a long runtime, the film never drags. If I had to point out one thing I would've liked to have seen a little more of, it would've been more of Benjamin as a little kid, as I felt that was rushed (for those who don't know what I mean, I mean the last parts of the film when he's old, but his body is young). This doesn't hurt the film in any way, as it's just my wishful thinking.

I know I've used the word 'magical' a lot in this review, and don't think it's on accident. If I could pick one word to describe David Fincher's masterpiece, that would be it: magical. "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" is a captivating piece of art that shouldn't be missed by anyone.
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"I was just thinking about how nothing lasts...and what a shame that is..."
male_j0825 December 2008
I had been awaiting to see this movie for some time. Alas, it was Christmas Day and you bet I was there to see the movie on opening day. I set my expectations really high on this film. I expected nothing short of brilliance with a film coming from director David Fincher, director of the masterful "Zodiac" and screenwriter Eric Roth, writer of the classic "Forrest Gump". The acting is brilliant in the movie. Brad Pitt and the marvelous Cate Blanchett share a fire that resonates so effortlessly out to the audience. Other performances are notable as well, such as Taraji P. Henson's as Benjamin's mother, and Tilda Swinton's as Benjamin's first lover. Another notable achievement in the film is the visual effects; none of it is overdone and it is quite convincing. The music in the film is great as well. The haunting and mythical music is composed by Alexandre Desplat. One thing that did surprise me in the film was the amount of comedy present, but I guess comedy's needed for a tale with such sorrow. I really do think that this film is a classic. And I would go and see it again. When I was walking out of the theater, some people complained that the movie was very good, but that it was too long. I disagree; I actually didn't want it to end. It's the perfect film to watch all snuggled up in a blanket during the dead of winter. All things aside, this movie is about the short time we're given with life and how we are to make the most of it. Even with a story as fictional as Benjamin Button's, the message rings true.
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Fine-looking and well acted, but ultimately flat (possible spoilers)
thorneer15 December 2008
Warning: Spoilers
"The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button" would seem to have everything going for it - major stars, an enormous budget, and a conceit that can't be beat. However, in the end it's that very conceit that hamstrings an otherwise wondrous piece of movie-making.

Fincher's characters tend to be psychos, paranoiacs, obsessives, some of whom struggle vainly against the darkness in their own souls, but many others who have embraced it. Benjamin Button is none of the above, and that's perhaps his problem. Button, born "under unusual circumstances" in 1918 New Orleans, spends his early life literally surrounded by death, raised, as he is, by an orderly in a home for the elderly. As a prematurely old man himself (an effect achieved by fantastic MOCAP work from Pitt), perhaps it's not surprising that as he grows into a body with which he may truly engage the world, he is more content to observe appreciably.

Now, this may be true to the spirit of the character, but unfortunately for Fincher and his screenwriter, Eric Roth, it doesn't make for very interesting cinema. At a recent screening, Roth referred to Button's character as the "anti-Gump", a classification that seemed both apt and problematic. This film will certainly earn comparisons to Robert Zemeckis' modern classic(also written by Roth), but where that film had a truly fascinating central character, who experienced as many mistakes and tragedies as victories and happiness, Fincher and Roth's protagonist is a cipher. There's a telling sequence around the middle of the film, where Button, by now a merchant seaman holed up in a dingy hotel in Murmansk, strikes up a relationship with a bored wife of a minor British official (Tilda Swinton). Unable to sleep, they meet each night for tea and good conversation (and later, sex). But instead of letting us hear what those conversations are about, he simply creates a montage, set to music, of various meetings fading into one another. By the time Swinton's character departs the film, we know next to nothing new about Benjamin other than that he has trouble sleeping and likes hot tea. The fact is that even Swinton's character, on screen for perhaps fifteen minutes, is more engaging. It's a frustrating glimpse of what might have been, had the filmmakers chosen to put the character before the gimmick, instead of the other way around.

Which brings us to Cate Blanchett. As Daisy, whom Benjamin meets as a young girl and who grows into a luminously beautiful and troubled ballet dancer, Blanchett shines as brightly as she ever has on screen. Unlike Benjamin, Daisy is not content to simply accept whatever life throws her way - she has dreams and attempts to act on them, and does her best to lead a normal, interesting life. Benjamin, passive as always, must quietly observe as she grows out of the playmate of his "youth" and into a somewhat headstrong woman who nonetheless possessed of enormous potential. His loyalty pays off, though, when circumstances bring them together again at a time when they both happen to be the same age - a fleeting moment, and one they will cherish. But again, the relationship between couple and audience is one-sided, because while we can see why Daisy would wish to return to the rock-steady loyalty of Benjamin, it's unclear what he feels about her other than a regard (she's certainly lovely enough). We are told in rather soggy voice-over narration (spread throughout the film) that Daisy is "the most beautiful person I'd ever seen", but that's all we'll get.

And so it goes, for nearly three hours. We cut frequently, and irritatingly, back to a modern-day hospital in New Orleans, where a dying Daisy asks her daughter (Julia Ormond) to read to her from Benjamin's diary as Hurricane Katrina pounds on the windows. There's something being said in these scenes about regret and the passage of time, but the appealing Ormond's character is one-note, and Blanchett seems nearly suffocated under pounds of old age makeup. It's from this diary whence springs Benjamin's narration, but, as Mr. Roth pointed out, Gump this ain't. Suffice it to say that the budget is up there on screen as we go on this strange trip through the twentieth century with Brad Pitt as our guide. A possibly unintentional (I doubt it) laugh arises mid-film when Benjamin finally reaches something around Pitt's own age. He strides into a garage in the mid-50's, decked out in leather jacket and shades, and whips a tarp off a motorcycle, on which he speeds out to the harbor to do some bare-chested sailing on a boat he builds himself (the shades remain on his head). It's a knowing wink to the wish-fulfillment of the casting - who wouldn't want their old crotchety husband to get younger and younger until they looked like Brad Pitt? - and a clever way to underscore the underlying tragedy of the situation. Sure, he looks like Brad Pitt in "Fight Club", "Se7en", "Thelma & Louise", but eventually he's going to look like Brad Pitt in "Cutting Class", and then Brad Pitt in seventh grade, and finally Brad Pitt as a toddler, and that's not so sexy.

Pitt does a fine job. It's a pity that Fincher, who has used him to such great effect twice before, didn't let him cut loose. Instead this is his most low-key performance since Meet Joe Black, in which he played Death, who was really just a nice young man curious about the world. Come to think of it, that's pretty much all that Benjamin Button is, and, if nothing else, he knows more about death than just about anybody around. Too bad that a film that means to affirm life turns out to be rather lifeless.
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a truly wonderful and powerful film
Jamie_Seaton10 August 2009
Warning: Spoilers
if you've not watched this film yet then go see it, its a beautiful film. brilliantly crafted by one of my favourite and best directors around "David Fincher"...... both the leads in this should of won Oscars, especially Brad Pitt. Just seeing him going through the aging process backward in the film is beyond brilliance. Cate Blanchett is very good too as the women Brad Pitts character loves in the film. All of the actors really give it their personnel best in this timeless classic. The film is fairly straight forward even though it is weird, Brad Pitts character was born old and through the years of his life he starts to grow younger and younger. It's just an epic journey through the life of what this man comes across. The film is on for about 3 hours but when I watched it that time went very quick. I do think longer films are so much better than short ones for the fact that they are more descriptive and you can get amazed by the story more. I'm so glad this won 3 Oscars even though it could have won more. It's not Fincher's best work but it's sure a film that won't be forgotten........ 10/10....... j.d seaton
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A great, worth film
h-rabbit24 February 2009
This film is worthy of a 10/10 rating simply because of its imaginative and complex nature, I mean, I couldn't bring myself to know why this simple idea of a man aging backwards hadn't sprouted up before. Set all the way back at the end of the Great War, to New Orlean's meeting with Hurricane Katrina, this movie tells the story of Benjamin Button, a baby born an old man of eighty, destined to die in the mere form of a zero-year-old. I found this movie very emotional and special because there's reeally nothing like it. I honestly thought, when I found out the immense length of the film, it was going to be boring....I was wrong, it gripped me from start to finish. There are many emotional and touching scenes in it, including the end, where it brings forth Benjamin Button's 'younger' years as an old man. Nothing went wrong with the cast, Brad Pitt played a great job as a reverse-aging man, and Cate went well as his childhood friend. Overall, this movie was great and I recommend it to anyone who loves the genre.
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Do You Still Wish You Could Turn Back the Clock?
alexkolokotronis27 January 2009
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button was a near epic film in almost the same way Forrest Gump was. I am not particularly a fan of David Fincher and his work. Yet I strongly admired The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. This film is about a man named Benjamin Button who leads much of an ordinary life under not so ordinary circumstances. The one thing that separates him from any other human being is that he ages backwards. Despite such large differences between the audience and Benjamin Button, the film finds a way to connect with a large variety of people in a way that does not seem to happen so often.

The acting was very good throughout the movie. Especially that of Cate Blanchett who seems to be turning out one great performance after another. She plays the role of Daisy, Benjamin Button's real love interest from start to finish. In fact she played so well it might have been a partial downfall to the movie. Her performance out shined that of the main character, played by Brad Pitt. Although Pitt was very solid in his performance I do not believe he deserved an Oscar nomination (rather Blanchett deserved one) for his role of playing Benjamin Button. He was not a necessity to the movie and did not add much to it. He was not bad but he wasn't spectacular. Throughout though many of the different actors and actresses lit up the screen. Especially Tilda Swinton who was wonderful to watch as Button's short lived love interest. Her presence was magical and a joy to watch. I would have loved to see just a little bit more of her character.

The directing of David Fincher in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button was of what I believe to be his best work to date. The screenplay of Eric Roth was written very well as he has had experience with these type of movies. In many scenes the dialog and great direction combined for some epic scenes.

Ultimately I enjoyed this movie very much but something felt missing from the movie. Something seemed left unsaid that was vital. I felt that the great downfall to this movie was that Brad Pitt didn't give an amazing performance and did not take control of the movie rather Blanchett stole the show from him which made Button seem less important to me. Despite that though it this film was done very well and I would recommend it to all. Its an important story that makes us self reflect and think deeply. It displays how we need to live with our mistakes because they are part of our life. We need to appreciate what we have rather than wonder "what if...?".
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Coldness and Warmth
axlgarland10 January 2009
Technically, like most of Davin Fincher's movies, "The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button" is a wonder. The curious saga of a man ageing backwards, gives Fincher the possibility of doing what he does best, tricks. It is the drama part that he doesn't seem to master or perhaps he doesn't care. "Zodiac" was his most coherent dramatic venture. Here he gets infatuated by the CGI and manages some spectacular punches but it is thanks to Brad Pitt the the exercise has a soul. He is truly remarkable. He manages to overcome the distraction of the gadgetry and show us the interior of the man. Brad Pitt's warmth wins over David Fincher's coldness and the most successful parts of the film are reflected in Brad Pitt's eyes. Geared towards an inexorable ending, there are moments of real beauty and tenderness. I'm convinced those moments could have been captured with a Super 8. The over direction of Fincher puts the emotional undertone in real jeopardy but, thankfully, the overall experience is mostly a welcome and rewarding one.
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A truly haunting, moving, and fascinating film.
dvc515924 February 2009
Brad Pitt makes his mark as an actor here as Benjamin Button, a man with a strange disorder - physically aging backwards. Along his emotional journey of life he encounters friends, family, loved ones, adventures, and most of all, chances.

Rarely has a film keeps the realism intact while still sustaining the magic of it. Truly, David Fincher and Pitt have created a film that is leaps and bounds ahead of its time. Taking a strange and fascinating tale and making it into one of the decade's very best films is something of an accomplishment.

Pitt, here, is an actor, not just a pretty face anymore. With the state-of-the-art visual effects at his hand, he pretty much carries the whole show. It is perhaps the first time since Andy Serkis' rendition of Gollum in The Lord of the Rings, that great acting has eclipsed terrific special effects. You genuinely feel and sympathize for his character, rooting for him all the way. Pitt owns the film, in short. He and David Fincher make a great team, and they look unstoppable to create more terrific films.

For the supporting cast, Cate Blanchett plays the love interest of Daisy to great effect. Her tale with Benjamin's make them somewhat star-crossed lovers. I won't go that far into detail but you'll see much later into the film. Taraji P. Henson also shines as Benjamin's surrogate mother, who gives her son the support he needs. Not to mention Tilda Swinton as an early love interest.

The screenplay by Eric Roth is excellent. Told from Benjamin's point of view with some highlights by Daisy, there are no clichéd dialogs to be heard, and the script is filled with equal moments of joy, ecstasy, sorrow, and understanding. Some dialog here is timeless and quotable, such as the film's tag-line; "We are defined by opportunities, even by the ones we miss." When you age backwards, you get more chances rather than missing it. I love that and wish for it, but sadly that is what movies are made for. And if that is what you've been thinking after or during your viewing of this film, then this film has succeeded.

David Fincher is a tour-de-force of film-making. Straying away from gritty violent thrillers such as "Zodiac", the unmatched "Fight Club", and "Se7en", he takes a bizarre love story, the most expensive budget he's faced, and crafts a film with such substance and flair that he adds quality to the film. There are moments in the film which make it obvious Fincher is calling the shots. The paced is slow, but this allows us to absorb and be infatuated with the characters. There is not one dull moment in the film. It is constantly gripping and re-watchable.

Technically speaking, the cinematography and lighting is absolutely perfect; gorgeous to the eyes and senses, and while giving the right tone and feel to the film shows us director Fincher's trademark. Accompanying this is the beautiful and heart-wrenching score by Alexandre Desplat, which is absolutely flawless. The special effects are unique and well-made, and you'll find yourself confused to whether certain scenes were made with special effects or not. If you want to see actors when they were young this is the best rendition of effects possible, and I hope the future movies use more of this amazing technology to make their stars more bankable. The special effects deserve their Oscar for it is the best I've seen in any movie in 2008.

In short, it is a beautiful, tragic, and terrific movie. It is certainly timeless and will stand the test of time, and hopefully, age well like fine wine (no pun intended). This absolute gem deserves the nominations it gets, too bad it was released the same year as Slumdog Millionaire.

Overall rating: 9/10
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Something beyond magical...
LayerCake7 December 2008
Warning: Spoilers
When I first heard that Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett's new film The Curious Case of Benjamin Button was destined to join the "sweepers" at the 2009 Oscars I knew that I had to check the film out to see if the rumors were true. Go back in time a little to when the film was first announced. David Fincher (Fight Club, Zodiac) was set to direct with a script from Eric Roth (Munich, The Insider) based off of an F. Scott Fitzgerald short story of the same title. The aspects of the crew were locked and had me somewhat interested. Then the cast list was announced with Brad Pitt (The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, Twelve Monkeys) and Cate Blanchett (I'm Not There., Coffee and Cigarettes) headlining the list, to say the least, it had my attention. I rarely get hyped up for super-mainstream films anymore with all of the disappointments that have occurred in the past. Luckily enough I was given the chance to attend a press screening on December 4th for this film and left well, satisfied. Given the fact that I was underwhelmed by the trailers, being satisfied is certainly saying something.

Benjamin Button centers on the life of well, Benjamin Button (Brad Pitt). As he states throughout the film, he was born under unusual circumstances. Unusual does not seem fit to describe it. Absurd would be a more suiting for the strange predicament Button found himself in. Born at the same age of everyone else when they enter the world, he had one different trait that stood out like a great white shark in a fish bowl, he had the frail wrinkled skin of an old man. Not only that, all of his features were those of a ninety-year old man. How this happened, the film does not explain in scientific terms but rather labels it as a "miracle" which in retrospect, it certainly is. With the outside of an old man, but the mind of a new born, Button had quite the handicap to overcome as a child. He is raised by the loving Queenie (Taraji P. Henson) who runs a nursing home establishment. There he meets an assortment of characters that all effect his life in different way although one person seems to have more of an effect than the rest. A young girl named Daisy (Cate Blanchett) is the grand daughter of one of the elders residing in the home. There she befriends Benjamin and their epic tale of love begins.

Go into this film with an open minded because you are going to leave with an over flooded one as it is. The story carries so many twists and heart wrenching scenes that the viewer cannot help but become completely engrossed in the film. The main theme in the film is not death, forgiveness or love, but rather life. Life as whole. Every little detail, every experience we have is our life. What we witness is an almost complete documentation of Benjamin's life. One thing that the film did quite splendidly was when Benjamin stated in his narration that a certain person affected his life quite greatly. When the scenes with that person would initiate, the film's pacing would slow down and pay closer attention to his relationship with the person and the changes they caused in his life. A beautiful portrayal of the finer moments in life.

Even if you leave the film bitter there is one thing you cannot deny your love for. The technical aspects of the film. The make-up is the best I have ever seen in a film. The age progression of the actors is done incredibly well. Even the actors handled the age changing roles quite well. The costume design is also fantastic and will most likely take home the Oscar gold along with the make-up. Another notable technical aspect is Fincher's direction. He has never been nominated for the "coveted" Best Director before but he has a strong chance with this film. One of the film's sequences stands out above the rest as one of the greatest Fincher has ever directed. While I will not go into great detail about it, I will say that it involves a tug boat fending off a submarine and it is incredible. Alexandre Desplat who was the composer for the film creates a score that may not be one of the most memorable, certainly helps in creating the film's atmosphere, which is a poetic one. To fully describe the spell that the technical aspects cast over the film would be nothing short of mesmerizing.

While this may not be the best film of the year, it certainly is a film that will be remembered for quite some time. It's not "flawless" or a "masterpiece" but it is something grand, something magical. A film that can be experienced over and over again. One that does not undermine the intelligence of the viewer by repeating sloppy dramatic sequences that will only end up to the understandable conclusion of happiness. No, Benjamin Button is a film that understands the human mind and revels in it. Producing every bit of love, happiness, depression, confusion, hate, companionship that life provides us with this film is a tour-DE-force on most levels. Come Oscar time, this is the mainstream "masterpiece" of the year that is to be reckoned with. I can easily see it picking up nominations in most categories and winning them as well. Like I stated before, it is not the best film of the year, but is one that you should see to experience the wondrous life of Benjamin Button.
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A disappointment
robert-broerse28 December 2008
Warning: Spoilers
The disappointment I feel is perhaps more for David Fincher's career than this film. Everything on the surface of 'The Curious Case of Benjamin Button' appears beautiful - the cinematography, the special effects, the make-up, the cast... everything is about eye candy. It is sweet but like sweets containing high glucose corn syrup, it leaves one irritable and certainly dissatisfied.

I find with most critiques of mainstream, big budget films those who fall into two camps - those taken in by the hype, by the surface of the film and those who feel and understand the film, aware of its flaws. It is the same with bestseller novels.

First of all, the concept of this film was unique. Let us at least take notice of F.Scott Fitzgerald who may or may not have stolen the idea/material from his wife Zelda (whom many scholars believe was the true genius and not her husband). Origins aside, the film has all the trimmings of previous work.

There are some people who are vehement about this being 'not Forest Gump'. I would stress the similarities between the two films and the fact Eric Roth wrote both.

Let us take note of the obvious:

Atypical hero: Forest Gump/Benjamin Button Love Interest Jenny/Daisy Mother (with similar accents) Hero's 'war involvement' Vietnam War/WWII Setting American South/American South Leitmotif Feather/Hummingbird

There are others but those are the most obvious. Let us also remind ourselves both films are narrated by the hero who both happen to have interesting and 'profound' observations about life and their lives.

But if it were simply a matter of being Forest Gump, then I would still have high praise for Benjamin Button. Not so. The majority of this film remains on the surface. Despite all the observations, despite the epic sweep of events that pass through the narrative, we as an audience are rarely allowed to go deeper. Again, the film was based on a unique idea but without the human psychology, without more background on several characters, I found it difficult to relate to any of these characters.

Benjamin Button. He is born old, he grows young. That's all we really know. He lives with old people, he learns to play the piano, he leaves home, he travels, he sees the world. Most of the narrative is about places and meeting people, rarely about being involved with others, what it means or feels like to relate to a world that sees him as old. He is an outsider. How does this feel? We don't really know as an audience. The film is entirely experiential, rarely psychological.

Daisy. We know she had a grandmother. We knows she loves to dance. But little else. What motivated her to dance, why did she love dancing? We don't know. And of course, why of all things did she not have a relationship with her daughter?

The relationship: A man returns from war. He meets a woman that used to be the girl he loved. The woman wants to seduce him. She attempts. He steps back. When this occurs in the film, we don't really understand the reasoning nor the purpose of the scene. Daisy is in town one day. Her and Benjamin go out together. Why is sex so important to Daisy? And why do we have to watch the two characters go back and forth before they land up together? When he visits her in New York, she is immature, a school girl attempting to get him jealous. Yet he is still attracted to her.

There are so many other questions I have about this film and so many things that simply do not make sense. The main one that comes to mind: if you are a dancer, someone who is professionally trained, why in any circumstances would you even think of dancing on a crowded street? The scene in which Daisy was hit by a car was for too unbelievable. She is first held up by a friend with a broken shoe lace. Daisy remains behind. In such a situation, when you have to wait for someone, the last thing you want to do is fool around after waiting. The scene felt convoluted and dumb - not tragic.

The montage in which Daisy and Benjamin find themselves together plays out like all other young lover clichés - they travel together, they make love, they buy a love, they make love in their home, they paint their home (there is a brief, albeit clichéd 'lovers painting the wall' scene ... yawn...seen it...). I didn't find this film to be magical, just a mosaic of previous formulas and scenarios. Benjamin 'youthens', he leaves her. He comes back later. Throughout the entire film, the audience really doesn't know or understand or get a sense of what it means to grow 'young' nor what kind of effect it might have on others.

I felt very tired after watching this picture. The first half was not bad. My interest was kept, I enjoyed the characters but when I started feeling lost and cheated, that I would never get any closer to the lives, feelings and deeper philosophies, and what with some of the frustrating scenes between Daisy and Benjamin, I began to grow impatient.
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Beautifully made and a wonderful movie
Smells_Like_Cheese4 June 2009
Warning: Spoilers
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, when I was working at a movie theater, I had seen the first hour of the movie, but never got to finish it. I was so disappointed because this movie looked like something truly special and finally I got to rent it, while I'm disappointed that I didn't finish it on the big screen this is one of the great movies out of 2008. Brad Pitt as we know has proved to be more then just a pretty face, he's pulled in some great performances, he needed a push though to get recognized by the academy and this was the role that he truly deserved to be noticed. He plays one of the most memorable movie characters that I'm sure will be remembered for all time, Benjamin Button, he plays the character with such love and passion, he and Cate Blanchett together once again to provide the perfect chemistry and make The Curious Case of Benjamin Button a very special movie.

An elderly Daisy is on her deathbed with her daughter Caroline in a hospital as a hurricane approaches. Daisy asks Caroline to read aloud from a diary containing photographs and postcards written by Benjamin Button. Caroline begins to read as the story transitions to Benjamin's narration. In 1918, just as the people of New Orleans are celebrating the end of the Great War, a baby boy is born with the appearance and physical maladies of an elderly man. The mother of the baby dies shortly after giving birth, and the father, Thomas Button, takes the baby and abandons him on the porch of a nursing home. Queenie and Tizzy, a couple who work at the nursing home, find the baby. Queenie decides to take the baby in as her own. Over the course of the story, Benjamin begins to biologically grow younger. In 1930, while still appearing to be in his seventies, Benjamin meets a young girl named Daisy, whose grandmother lives in the nursing home. A few years later, Benjamin goes to work on a tugboat on the docks of New Orleans for Captain Mike. While in Russia, he begins an affair with the older, married Elizabeth. Eventually, she breaks it off, only leaving him a note telling him she was glad they met. In 1962, Daisy returns to New Orleans and meets Benjamin again. Now the same physical age, they fall in love and move in together. They experience the 1960s together, in large part blissfully but increasingly aware of Benjamin growing younger while Daisy grows older. Daisy gives birth to a girl, Caroline. Benjamin, believing he cannot be a father to his daughter due to his reverse aging, and not wanting to burden Daisy with having to raise two children, sells his belongings, and leaves the proceeds to Daisy and Caroline. He leaves them both and travels the world.

If you get the chance, I highly recommend The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, this movie was just incredible in it's scope, story, setting and actors. David Fincher took what could have been just a small treasure and made it into something incredible. This was one of the saddest love stories I have seen in a long time, we really haven't had anything too special when it comes to a love story in film, we did have Slumdog Millionaire in 2008 as well, but The Curious Case of Benjamin Button carried it's love story throughout and made you really pity this couple that you know can't have much of a future together. Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett are absolutely beautiful in this movie along with a great supporting cast, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button is a movie not to be missed.

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Some Things Last
Absyrd26 December 2008
Warning: Spoilers
After having developed pretty much the most successful directorial career of the decade, Fincher just refuses to hold back his enormous talent, always picking the risky projects and churning out an exhilarating piece of work. He's come a long way as it is, and then comes along the curious "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button". The title speaks for itself. The result can be anything between a predictable romantic drama, or a stirring, magical, unforgettable, heartbreaking, intelligent, challenging experience. I'm sure you can tell which direction I'm headed.

Oh, what a curious case indeed. The film begins as a child, born on the day of the end of the Great War (symbol of the beginning of life?), is abandoned by his father outside a boardinghouse dedicated for seniors. It is quickly revealed that he was born ugly and wrinkled (not quite the appearance of a child, but "still a child of God"). We don't find out immediately that he will lead his life physically aging backwards, but it is gradually revealed as he grows older, when his back begins to take shape and his wheelchair is rendered useless.

What ensues after developing his bizarre nature, however, is the true core of this absolutely spellbinding masterpiece. There is always a lingering dread that his relationships will never work beyond their limited time frame, but its characters are driven by soul, not any shallow desires. The heart of the film is the relationship between Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett. Will their love survive their difficult circumstances? Mortality is the key theme of this picture, the adamant difference between young and old age. Transience is man's greatest weakness.

Although it's a pretty glum and straightforward thing to say that nothing lasts, the film does not depict itself through false optimism, but rather through hope. Hope that beneath these torn souls, there is the chance of wisdom and love overcoming mortality, and it culminates a damned poignant realization. There is also a playful theme to summarize the entire film -- no matter which way you age, life will always f-ck you. Tell that to the millions of women undergoing their midlife crisis, I guarantee the results will not be pretty. I'm getting off- track now, so let me just say this is possibly the best film of the year, and many years to come.
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The Curious Case of Conflict Avoidance
Egg_MacGuffin12 January 2009
Warning: Spoilers
I don't understand the appeal of this film. It has no plot (which is not necessarily a bad thing. Another Fincher/Pitt collaboration from 1999 comes to mind), the protagonist has no goal, and the film basically has no conflict.

Massive Spoilers Below.

Button is a FREAK. You would think his life would be a living hell full of torment and meaty conflict...but no. Button's life is wonderful. He rarely encounters hardship.

He gets abandoned by his father, who shows up later and gives Benjamin everything he owns. He is taken in by a loving woman who cares for him every step of the way, keeping him far from anyone who would consider him to be a freak. He lives the good life growing up...or would it be down? He gets a job handed to him while sitting on a bench (a job that he loves so much that he would have done it for free, but he's getting paid!). He travels the world feeling no ill effects and not being taunted or ridiculed one single time for his disorder.

Most difficult situation he encounters is being left without a life jacket when the tugboat encounters a German WWII sub, which the tugboat ends up defeating with such ease and rapidity, Benjamin doesn't even have time to do anything but crouch down for a minute and hide. The lack of a life jacket doesn't even come into play at all. A set-up with no pay-off. What was the point of that? The episodic nature of the story makes it difficult to remember whether Tilda Swinton's character showed up before or after Benjamin went to war, but it doesn't even matter. Swinton has an affair with Button, but Swinton's husband is a spy! Oh shlt? Nope. That is another set-up without a pay-off. More conflict avoided. It's an affair without any repercussions.

The closest the film comes to a plot is the love story between Daisy and Benjamin, which is also the closest the film comes to displaying any sort of real conflict. Benjamin goes to New York to surprise Daisy only to find out she is with someone else. She rejects him. Benjamin goes to Paris. Daisy rejects him again. However, the rejections are only temporary, and Daisy forgives him entirely. More conflict avoided.

From there on, they live a wonderful life. There is even a montage showing how wonderful their life together is. Neither one has to deal with any sort of conflict for a while. They just have sex and fun all day long. They eventually end up having a child together, and Benjamin decides to walk out on them to avoid the possibility of conflict arising from the fact that he will eventually grow young and Daisy will have to care for both of them.

So despite his radical disorder (that nobody even really comments on, let alone ridicules him over), Benjamin goes through what some would consider a perfect life. He ends up with everything he wants and doesn't even have to work to get it.

Hell, I wish I was born backwards so my life would be free and easy.

How could a story with a concept so ripe with conflict completely avoid it?
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A Masterpiece
Casablanca37842 January 2009
Brad Pitt is not just another handsome guy who's made it big in film. This guy is one hell of an actor who'll walk away with this year's Best Actor Oscar as will the movie garner 10 awards. It is simply a masterpiece; no words can aptly decribe the poignancy and beauty of this celluloid Renoir.

Kudos to two geniuses who wrote it;Eric Roth and Robin Swicord,masters of imagination. To think of the idea whereby the march of time runs clockwise for the entire world but backwards for Benjamin is, in itself, masterful. The concept allows for the type of intersection of people and events which has never been shown on the screen previously.

I suggest that no one reads anything about the plot because the entire impact of the film will be lost by doing so. See it with an open mind and you will be totally astounded for close to three hours. Every once in a while, a film of this brilliance comes along to take the public by storm, the last being "Million Dollar Baby," therefore get set for another movie treat of a lifetime.

Simply stated: this film is NOT to be missed.
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Ultimately, a completely pointless film
onionterror125 January 2009
Warning: Spoilers
I wasn't particularly enthralled with the idea of this film before seeing it but there was nothing else good on, so I gave it a try. An interesting idea for a film, that he grows physically younger but mentally develops in the normal way. However, this leads to many inconsistencies in the storyline. It doesn't make sense that Benjamin, when he becomes a father, decides to leave and travel the world. He looks of the age to do something like this but he's meant to be more mature... And when he's an old man in a young boy's body, he has a tantrum like a young boy would, but that doesn't fit the idea of the story, either... When trying to find the point to this whole story, all it comes down to is that we should look after those close to us and take more care of them. Well, that's an original one! To me, it became extremely boring as there is never any deep meaning to it and it just keeps dragging on for far too long when you can see that it's quite a stupid idea to put into a film. The anecdotes in the story, the acting and the direction are all good but in the end, what's the point?
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Overrated. Overrated. Did I Mention Overrated?
ZookGuy31 December 2008
Warning: Spoilers
As of this writing, Benjamin Button is number 70 on IMDb's Top 250 movies of the year list. Many people believe this film deserves, in a year with films like Frost/Nixon and Doubt (and many others which I will not mention) that this is the one film which will bring home Best Picture.

Wow. This is overrated. It will bring home the Oscars it deserves: Cinematography and Makeup, and if it's very, very, lucky, Special Effects.

What bugs me most about the film is the thing at the core: the relationship between Daisy and Benjamin. It misses something very, very, important: why they fell in love in the first place.

The most interesting section is one that completely captivated: when he has a love affair with a lady at the Russian hotel, why? Because they kept it at a brisk 30 minutes so it doesn't drag on for 2 hours, it gets you captivated, and it ends when it is meant to end. You can also tell why they had the affair in the first place: they wanted to find out to what it was like to be in love, or in the girls case: Benjamin's strange affliction.

You (or at least me) become sick of Benjamin's relationship with Daisy when you realize it fails to ask the most important question at what is the dead center of the entire 2 hour 48 minute film: Why did they fall in love???

Pitt gives a tolerable performance, nothing Oscar worthy. Blanchett, on the other hand was very good as Daisy, trying to fuel the chemistry with Pitt that just isn't there.

It's also very long with a 168-minute runtime, it thinks it can spend all the time trying to win, but in the end, it fails. There are many useless scenes that could've been thrown out (particularly this one scene in which it shows all the things, which could've happened to prevent Daisy being hit by a cab, which leaves you thinking in the 5-minute section that feels more like 30 minutes which left me thinking "when will this end???").

Worth a rental for the astounding cinematography and makeup.
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Not worth your time. super-yawn.
tw1zzlers24 December 2008
Warning: Spoilers
Groucho Marx said there's no worse thief than a bad movie. (steals your money and your time) and that's exactly what this film is.

Do not, I repeat, do not tolerate the comparisons to Forrest Gump - a film filled with history, humor!, star-studded cast, a solid script, jam packed with history, one clever gimmick after the other and brilliant effects.

Spoiler - Benjamin Button had one effect, that was make-up: Take one of the world's most attractive men and make him look unattractive for 75% of the film, while he moans and groans about the deal he's been dealt in life. don't get me wrong, they did this well, but he's never sympathetic. Y'just don't care about him at all... to be honest, the whole film struck me as a giant, drawn-out metaphor for a midlife crisis: a man pines after a girl who's not ready for him for years and years, then when she finally takes him into her bed, they spend a glorious year between the sheets, and as soon as responsibility shows up in the form of a child, he runs away from commitment, blaming his condition. And what's the big deal with his condition??? So his body is getting younger.. not his mind. That would actually make him a great father... he'd be around for the same number of years as many fathers are for their children.. 30/40 years, and during that time he'd only have gotten stronger and younger, while his mind was still maturing. What a gift! Great, cherish it! Live it! Accept your lot in life, challenges and all, and be a remarkable human being. That's the challenge laid upon us all.

But no - Instead of facing his problem and taking on life and love and cherishing every moment, he lets down the woman he loves terribly and runs out on her, for what? to have sex with a few women? Preposterous.

And then of course, when he comes back, she forgives him for being a coward and a stinker. Well why? Why be so forgiving. What's so tough about his life, oh poor guy, he gets to get younger everyday, he gets to get stronger and better looking as he sleeps.. where was the appreciation of this miracle? Where were the papers who would have been making a big deal over him? Where was the major history that he lived through which we never saw? Where were his amazing slew of life experiences, we watched 90 years of a man's life and all he did was run and hide from who he was. Where was a p-l-o-t? - the guy had no appreciation for the people who loved him, never knew his mother was sick? Nope, just came home one day to find she'd died. Did he not stay in touch with anyone? He did have a sister. I guess she didn't want to call to let him know their mother was ill? Clearly no one cared enough about him to tell him. Classic. Well if they don't, I don't either. And why did Cate's character keep his postcards from their daughter once the journal was found? Made no sense. Cate moved into the house and lived with him for 5 years as he went through Alzheimer's as an infant - where was Julia's character during this time? Also not speaking to anyone? Was she not curious why her mother chose to spend 5 years of her life this way? Why did she never tell her about her father? Why did I watch this piece of drivel and waste my time??? Save yourself the agony.

I'm sorry F. Scott Fitzgerald. I'm sure you wrote a lovely short story. But that's all it was, a short story, and should have remained so. Before someone drags out your piece to a 3 hour sedative they ought to maybe actually write a s-t-o-r-y to justify the running time.

**Watch the trailer**. That's all you need. And really, do watch it. It's interesting, it's pretty to look at, and really that's the entire story right there, a minute-and-a-half, you can see all of the make-up and special effects, you can pretend you've seen the film, cause nothing more happens - save yourself 3 hours and go spend time with your family instead, appreciate the gift of life instead of squandering it on bad films, or watch a different movie, (ooh, Juno, that was a good flick with an actual script - about dealing with life, hardships and all without boring people to tears), or go bang your head against a wall, something remotely entertaining. Brad, Cate, Julia, you're wonderful, all of you, the whole cast, you're lovely, you got pummeled by a lousy non-script and mind-blowingly uninspired direction. I'm sorry for you all.
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Clichéd and as a movie, untimately unfulfilling
brent-leslie12 January 2009
Warning: Spoilers
I can't see why others rate this film so highly. Maybe because people are so used to seeing visual trash from Hollywood these days, when they get visual trash with some good acting, they call it a masterpiece.

Benjamin Button is a very well paced, visually affecting movie. But it is one that leaves you feeling hollow. The feel for the characters due to the skill of the actors, but you are given no understanding for their motivations. Why did the female lead desire so much to be a dancer? Where was Benjamins conflict about leaving his family? Layer that with the oh so obvious feeling that this was done before (and better) with Forrest Gump and you feel like this is a rehash of the same idea. Now throw in cliché after cliché (crazy sea captain, dancer struck down ridiculously in her prime, lovers buying a love nest and painting the walls...) and you end up feeling like you have gone on a ride, but it didn't make you feel any differently than when you got on. You can't identify or understand what has happened, so why is it important? Are we all so gullible these days that any movie with some enhanced visuals and good acting gets called a masterpiece?
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What a waste of time
davidgrant-228 December 2008
Warning: Spoilers
I can't believe how positive the reviews for this movie are. I was extremely disappointed in this movie.

1. The old woman's voice was extremely annoying and over-acted. Perhaps even unrealistic as I have never heard an old person talk like that.

2. The hummingbird showing up at sea was stupid. Then it showed up again in the hurricane at the very end of the movie which was completely ridiculous.

3. When Benjamin was born he was born with the mind of a child, the body of an 80-year old but he was baby-sized. The fact that he had the body of a child but was baby-sized was a bit bit inconsistent but fine, I'll accept it. When he aged, his body size grew, but everything other than his body size became younger, and his brain grew older. Then, by the end of the movie, he had the mind of an 80-year old, and the body of a baby, but he was baby-sized again. He should have started as a normal sized 80-year old or he should have died as a large baby. I prefer the former. He could have been born as a 100 lb old man, and that could have explained why the mother died, because she had given birth to a 100 lb old man (she could have been a 300 lb pregnant woman, not any harder to believe than Benjamin's condition itself). Yeah it sounds crazy, but to me it makes more sense and is more consistent.

4. When old-body, young-mind Benjamin was screwing the whore they made reference to his stamina and he said something like "let's go again" to the whore. If he had an old body he would not have been such a performer in bed. Are people so stupid to believe that performance in bed is only mental?

5. Incredibly boring. Moves at a very slow pace for the entire movie. There is almost no conflict, just boring scene after boring scene.

6. Mr. Button grabbed the baby from the room in front of some nurses and a doctor and then ran away from a cop. He got away from the cop and put the baby on someone's front stairs. Did none of the people who saw him take the baby report him? At least to the media? If this movie made any effort to be realistic at all, Mr. Button would have feigned joy at the baby's birth and then dumped the baby after everyone had left. Or, they would have reported a missing baby with wrinkly skin.

7. Last minute of the movie was such a groaner. "Some play music, some are mothers, some dance..." give me a break.

8. Too long for what it is.
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tedg25 December 2008
Warning: Spoilers
Fincher understands cinematic narrative construction and has the craft to match. I fell under his spell during "Fight Club."

The idea there was to play a game with inner narrative. It was, I think when Pitt first found his way into full collaboration with a director's adventure with the shifting of watcher and writer. That made Pit a real actor in my book. Fincher has played with other devices since. "Panic Room" was architectural, at least to begin. "Zodiac" twisted the detective story in odd ways.

Here he works with one of the most basic challenges in film: how to show the internal workings of a mind in emotional seas. The conventional way in literature is easy enough for us now: we read about what we believe are the inner ruminations and remembrances of a mind. But that makes for bad films -- where we have all sorts of talk, explanations in words instead of immersion in experience through the visual grammar. These are the worst.

But what if you want to tell a real love story? One of real love, deep love, impossible love? What if you want it directly from the lover's hearts and don't want some metaphoric overlay, some watered down convention? Well, you might try this collection of devices, these two.

First there is the inter-nested story. We have the framing narrative of the clockmaker and his love. (This, incidentally, is one way to show love, to conflate it with something visual, like clocks, stations, hurricanes, lightning.) We leave that and come to an inner framing story, a dying woman still calculating, revealing secrets to a daughter. This is actually a pretty conventional setting as well. We revisit it enough to allow for an excuse for her to "read" from a diary, the excuse for us to hear the inner thoughts and emotions of Benjamin. This one device gives blanket allowance, and the casual viewer will scarcely notice that we get the inner beats of the woman's heart as well, in her own "words."

This is combined with the more visible device of two lover's lives running in opposite directions. We go forward while the story is recalled as double memory, triple if we credit Ormand's character (the daughter) as the one going in reverse. And this IS conveyed cinematically by the somewhat hypnotic device of seeing the familiar face of Brad Pitt reverse age. It sounds simple, this concoction, but I imagine it to take the focused efforts of all involved, including the two women: our most talented folding actors (both redheads here) Cate Blanchett and Tilda Swinton.

Along the way, Fincher almost teases us with what he does not do. There is the "Doctor Zhivago" route not taken, the war movie route, the dancer (performance as love), the Ron Howard play ("Cocoon"), the Spielberg play, in fact all the possible ratholes that all the possible directors who were once attached would have gone down.

Yes, it is slow. Love is. Yes, it is difficult, but this love is -- all deep love is. All lasting love is a passing moment, captured and nurtured internally while it tries its best to vanish.

Is this the best, truest love story in ages? Yes, probably. Will it change you? Possibly, depending on where your heart passes.

Ted's Evaluation -- 3 of 3: Worth watching.
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Possibly the greatest film of the last 5 years
Benedict_Cumberbatch26 December 2008
Warning: Spoilers
When this film was over (saw it on a late show on Christmas Day), I knew I had just experienced one of the most powerful cinematic masterpieces of my life. "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" is quite possibly my favourite film of the last 5 years (not since Sofia Coppola's "Lost In Translation" a contemporary film had moved me so much). I had high expectations for it, and they were way surpassed (fact: after "Se7en", "Fight Club" and this, nobody will deny David Fincher and Brad Pitt make great films together).

"Benjamin Button" is the story of a man who ages backwards. Played and narrated by Brad Pitt, BB is the epic account of this extraordinary life, with focus on all the special women that were part of it (Taraji P. Henson as the mother, Cate Blanchett as the love interest and Tilda Swinton as a married woman he has an affair with). As a humorous, romantic, melancholic and visually stunning tale of a sweet-natured man who's different from most people, the film reminds me of "Forrest Gump" (which was also adapted to the screen by Eric Roth), but it is even more groundbreaking. It's hard to see a film that has it all, but TCCOBB is one of those. It's like a great epic from Hollywood's Golden Age, when a good story was as important as the magnificent sets (the art direction, cinematography and make-up are all fantastic, by the way, as is Alexandre Desplat's musical score) that populated them – something very rare today, when CGI dominates most movies.

We had a few great films this year – from the king of blockbusters (Christopher Nolan's "The Dark Knight") to a compelling biopic (Gus Van Sant's "MILK") to brilliant indies like Danny Boyle's "Slumdog Millionaire", Mike Leigh's "Happy-Go-Lucky", Charlie Kaufman's "Synecdoche, New York", Thomas McCarthy's "The Visitor", Courtney Hunt's "Frozen River", Tomas Alfredson's "Let The Right One In" and Jonathan Demme's "Rachel Getting Married", but I doubt I will see anything as good as David Fincher's masterpiece so soon. In other words, an instant classic (there, I said it). 10/10.
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The Curious Case of Hollywood Hype
joliefille41129 August 2009
Warning: Spoilers
Honestly, I cannot start out saying anything other than this movie was complete rubbish from the ground up. At first sight, it seems to hold such promise: an interesting hook, renowned actors, as well as being based on a short (HA! more on that later...) story of F. Scott Fitzgerald's. I even paid to see it non-matinée the week it was released- a rarity for me. Yet all the overblown actors and excessive ad campaigns and self-congratulating awards shows in the world could not disguise what this film truly was.

First off, the acting. I love Cate Blanchette, truly I do, but if she could do no better with her hackneyed portrayal of a Deep Southern accent, she did not deserve her role. In fact, both of the leads sounded so bad it would have been laughable had it not been so entirely insulting. I have lived all over the Southeastern US and have yet to encounter people who sounded so overdone and idiotic. Also, there was no way Cate could possibly hope to pass for early twenties. They should have taken their cue from Pitt's people and filmed her back-lit in complete shadows for the younger scenes. As for Brad Pitt, I have always been leery of him- I only ever hear of the man as an Adonis rather than an actor. Next time I will stick to my instincts- his pretty face did little to cover for his wooden lack of talent. It seems that all his contracts ever require of him is that he bang the hot chick. At least he got one part right.

Which brings me to my next point- the absolutely sickening way Hollywood treats sex. It's so commonplace, so vulgar. Apparently, you are not a man, nay, not even a whole human being until you've shagged someone, even if its a hooker. Never mind that the character was supposed to only be mentally 13 (felony, anyone?). Or that no regard was given to the repercussions of such numerous encounters with people he had little other relation with. It's as if they wanted to see how long they could stretch out a film on pure bs. In fact, did this character exist for any other reason that to brag about his sexual irresponsibility in an outrageous southern drawl? Beats me.

Even more curious than the case of the missing plot, was the mystery of the missing logic. Where was the racial tension of black adults raising a white child in New Orleans? Where was the brain of the policeman when Crazed Daddy Button came back with no ugly baby? Where was the sorcerer that was responsible for said ugly baby and the mysterious clock of doom we kept cutting to? Where were the obviously blind doctors and reporters that just happened to never realize the man was AGEING BACKWARDS? Not even a lone tormentor of this freak of nature? I've never known a person with life this good- everyone accepts him, wants to shag him, forgives him at a whim, and takes care of him no matter the personal cost. And all the while he is looking more and more like Brad Pitt. Am I seriously supposed to feel sorry for him? Everyone dies, everyone eventually reverts to a state where they can't care for themselves. I'm pretty sure that impermanence is when people keep telling me makes life SPECIAL. So shut up grow some, please.

And then, to put the cherry on the sundae, our brave hero decides that it's just not fair for his lady friend he's knocked up to have to eventually raise two kids, so what does he do? He abandons her to raise one totally alone and travel the world seeking out more hookers to ease his pain. Oh tut, tut, life's just not fair, is it? Of course, he does actually come back when he can't change his diapers himself anymore, therefore negating any possible shred of nobility he supposedly professed. And all the while this is treated as the greatest sacrifice known to humankind. More like the greatest selfishness. I could go on like this for years, but I think my point has been sufficiently made.

The friend on my right side during the film wept at the end, calling it the deepest film he'd ever seen. The depth must have overwhelmed the one to my left, because after dragging on for 3 hours for no discernible reason, all she could think of was when would it end so she could go to the toilet. I am inclined to agree with the latter: there are better things I could do with my time than watch this movie, among them, go to the toilet.
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