F. Scott Fitzgerald's short story 'The Curious Case of Benjamin Button' has been transformed into a splendid film by David Fincher. A marvelously made film, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button is one of the best movies of 2008. The cast is terrific and director David Fincher beautifully puts together the tale of Benjamin's life. The only large flaw many will find is that the concept of the film's premise seems too unrealistic.
The film tells the life of Benjamin Button (Brad Pitt). Born as an old man, Benjamin ages backwards; gradually getting younger as those around him age normally. Benjamin is abandoned at birth and picked up at an old-age home. As a child - or rather as a hunched over 80 year old - he meets a girl named Daisy (Cate Blanchett). Together they engage in innocent child games, and through this they develop a special connection. As Benjamin goes off into the world, Daisy continues to grow up, later pursuing her dream of dancing. Benjamin joins a crew and sails round the world, ending up in Russia. Then, after Pearl Harbor, Benjamin joins in the war effort, following battles across the north Pacific and only engaging in one combat situation.
Returning to New Orleans, Benjamin has grown taller, lost many of his wrinkles, and grown more hair. The visual effects are spectacular in following Brad Pitt through the various stages of his life. From an old man to a young teen, Benjamin always resembles Pitt. Upon arrival in his childhood home, Benjamin learns that many of the tenants he knew have passed on. This is the tragedy of aging backwards, those you knew continue to age forward as they exit this world while you do the opposite. Benjamin also meets Daisy again, who after many years has become a successful dancer and has blossomed into a beautiful young woman. Long gone is the innocence of childhood, and Daisy has become intimate with many men in New York City. Missing by an inch, she and Benjamin do not initiate a relationship until later in the film.
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button is a fantastic film. Beautifully created, David Fincher paints an image of the south of the United States in the early 1900s which seems both realistic and fantastical. The film also illustrates war, travel, death, and many of the other events of life. Brad Pitt shows emotional depth as Benjamin, and Cate Blanchett is terrific as Daisy. It is surprising how much we can take away from a 166 minute movie, the audience feels as if they have known Benjamin and Daisy for all of their lives. While some may question the premise of the film, arguing that time is linear and that the plot is therefore incoherent, there can be no arguing that this film does its best to develop human relationships and to establish emotional connections between characters. As Roger Ebert once said, “A film is not about its subject; it's about how it's about its subject”, and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button certainly handles its subject material splendidly.