The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
A baby is born wrinkly, very wrinkly and displaying all the symptoms of old age. As this boy grows the aging process reverses, as he gets older he appears younger. A simple and yet crazy premise for a movie.
So now you know the basic premise of the movie. I guess it’s really just one component of the movie, one simple idea like a planet that is orbited by events, characters and a huge raft of emotions. After all it’s hard to be someone who is different, especially when what sets you apart is something never seen before and something so foreign to the reality that we know that not only is it hard to believe but also difficult to accept. So baring this in mind it makes for somewhat of a harrowing emotional journey. Now this deeply moving film would only be this way due to the wonderful character portrayals of Benjamin Button (Pitt), Daisy (Blanchett) and Queenie (Henson).
It is one of those stories that are best seen, rather than explained and so I won’t go in to huge depth about the plot. I will point out that it has been set up in a similar manner to that of Titanic, the Notebook and various other films, where the story is told looking back. As Daisy lies on her death bed, her daughter finds the diary of a man called Benjamin Button and begins to read the diary aloud to her mother. Leading to in-depth flashbacks and the occasional moment of interaction as the story unfolds and shows a side to Daisy that her daughter did not know. Written in first person by the object of the story, this diary begins to explain the curious life of one Benjamin Button. As explained in the premise description above, this is no ordinary life story.
The makeup and special effects in this film are excellent from the aged young man of Benjamin Button to the youthful Daisy, there are no moments in this film where you don’t believe the what you’re seeing. I should point out that normally I find so much fault in the way that Hollywood poorly attempts to age people through makeup but here it is flawless and worthy of an Oscar.
Which leads me to the 13 nominations for Oscars this year for this film. One of the nominations is for an up and coming young actress by the name of Taraji P. Henson who plays “Queenie” the adoptive mother to Benjamin Button. Of course there’s Brad Pitt with his first Oscar Nomination since he was nominated for best supporting Actor in Terry Gilliam’s “Twelve Monkeys”. Put yourself in Pitt’s shoes; although he is no stranger to complex and interesting roles, how does an actor find the motivation and experience to play something so new and preposterous as a boy who ages backwards. Well whatever he drew on has helped him to portray immaculately this struggle of humanity that we see in “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”
Take a box of tissues for your tears and be prepared for a deeply moving, sad and yet thoroughly enjoyable close on two and a half hours at the cinema.
Reviewed by: Jon E Clist
Releases: 25th December 2008
Rating: M – Offensive language & Sexual references
Running time: 166 minutes
Genre: Drama, Fantasy
Starring: Brad Pitt, Cate Blanchett, Tilda Swinton & Taraji P. Henson
Director: David Fincher