The Curious Case of Benjamin Button is a good movie but it is rather long. It was nominated for several Oscars and it won three (Art Direction, Makeup and Visual Effects). I don’t know that it should have won for Makeup and Visual Effects (could be that I am biased cause The Dark Knight was also nominated for those as well). This movie is stunning visually, and has some great acting in it. That said it is rather long at 166 minutes, and it reminds me too much of Big Fish. Big Fish is the same type of dying revelation story with the same out of bounds reality, but it more entertaining than Benjamin Button and better done.
Plot: The story of Benjamin Button is just that. It tells the story of the life of Benjamin Button as read from his diary by a daughter to her dying mother (in the middle of a hurricane in New Orleans). We learn that he was a rather odd fellow indeed. He was born old and instead of getting older, he gets younger throughout time. He is originally abandoned by his father, Mr. Button as his mother dies in childbirth. He is raised by Queenie who works in a nursing home, which is a good place for Benjamin to be as a old-man boy. Benjamin has many experiences such as working on a tug boat during the war, traveling the country, reconnecting with his father and falling in love. He falls in love with the granddaughter, Daisy, of a lady in the nursing home. Benjamin and Daisy are separated by time and experience but they always keep in touch until they finally get together in their 40’s when they have met in the middle of their developments (of her getting older and he getting younger). Can their romance work out and what happens when Benjamin gets way younger–like 12 or so? You will have to watch the movie to find out.
The visuals in this movie are great. They way they aged Brad Pitt and they subtlety they used for the continually backwards aging process was very nicely done and very deserving of the art direction Oscar that they received. And New Orleans is also a visually wonderful town to film as well.
One thing I think detracts from this movie is that it is too long. I don’t know that we needed every detail of Benjamin’s life. It seems to drag in the middle and I felt some of the side-plots of the story just wandered to no successful end.
The acting was well done. Brad Pitt was excellent as Benjamin Button. They boy/man that seems to take every thing in stride. He tries new things and views love and loss with patience. He has a calm and peace about it. This role in a way reminded me of Pitt’s character in Meet Joe Black. I thought Cate Blanchett was excellent as Daisy. She is the spit and fire to Benjamin’s calm and acceptance. She is a dancer and full of life. They are perfect complements to each other. Julia Ormond is a nice touch as Caroline, Daisy’s daughter, the one who is reading the story to her mother. She has to deal with both her dying mother and a hurricane and does so with the angst only a daughter can have at these moments. Queenie, Benjamin’s surrogate mother, is played by Taraji P Henson. She did such and excellent role that I was hoping that she would win a Oscar for her performance. She is a mother who cannot have her own child and thinks every child should have a chance even one that looks like Benjamin when he is born. She is a wonderful mother and person. Overall the acting is well done by all in the film.
Overall, this is a nice film that tells a good story. If you can sit through the full 166 minutes you might find the journey worth it, but me, I think I will just watch Big Fish again.