The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

There is mad buzz surrounding this film, with Brad Pitt (Babel) being nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Actor, and the movie getting serious Best Picture consideration. I have to agree with the other critics that this is all much ado about SOMETHING, because I thought that The Curious Case of Benjamin Button was an absolutely enchanting film from start to finish. Bolstered by a high-concept story, the movie also features truly great special effects, as the titular character ages in reverse. If you’ve been under a rock and are unfamiliar with the unique premise, let me fill you in. Benjamin Button, as an infant, displays all the signs of a man at the twilight of his life. He is wrinkled, afflicted by cataracts and osteoporosis. Curious indeed. Benjamin’s mother died in childbirth, and his father is unequipped to deal with the aftermath of raising an obviously special child. He rips the baby from a midwife’s clutches and runs through the New Orleans streets, hurtling to and fro. He abandons the infant on a doorstep, and it is this home that will prove to be a wonderful haven for Benjamin the rest of his life. Discovered by Queenie, a domestic and innkeeper of sorts, Benjamin is embraced and loved as if she birthed him herself. He grows younger as he gets older, viewing the world through the eyes of a child while the world perceives him as an elderly man. I found this story to be simply fascinating and touching as Benjamin is impacted by the world around him. His physical deformity renders him much more emotionally attuned than a normal child, and he and Queenie, who is Black, share many tender moments. Taraji P. Henson (Hustle & Flow) as Queenie has easily surpassed anything she’s done up to this point, and I hope this role provides her with more opportunities. Pitt is reunited with Cate Blanchett (they were both in Babel), and they have very good chemistry as they portray two star-crossed lovers. The easiest thing for me to say is that the movie just made me feel good. It was heartwarming, funny, sweet, and simply fascinating. It may seem cool to age in reverse, but it’s actually tragic to watch your loved ones precede you in death, to grow younger while everyone else grows older – and for it to be assumed that you have knowledge and experience that you actually lack. Benjamin is forgiving and appreciates the beauty in life and in people, allowing his father to make amends for the cruelest betrayal by willingly developing a relationship with him. I can see this movie taking home a whole slew of accolades, including ones for the script, performances, make-up – you name it. It will all be well-deserved. Director David Fincher (Seven) has outdone himself, and the pairing of he and Pitt almost rivals the nice rapport Scorsese has developed with Leonardo DiCaprio, though obviously Fincher and Pitt are less prolific. If you can’t tell, I liked it LOL. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button is a must-see movie.

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