Film Review 9: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

 

A fervent watcher wouldn’t miss this film even if it’s not his cup of tea. Benjamin Button is one of the most anticipated movies of the year. With David Fincher (Se7en, Fight Club) as director, Eric Roth (Forrest Gump) and Robin Swicord (Memoirs of Geisha) as scriptwriters, Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett as main actors, it seems like an Oscar winning combination.

The film opens with Caroline tending to her mother, old Daisy (Cate Blanchett with heavy prosthetic make up) and the story begins when Daisy, in her muffled voice, asks Caroline to read out an old diary belonging to Benjamin Button. The narration transits to the voice of Benjamin Button (Brad Pitt) as he tells his own life story. (Thank God it is not narrated by old Daisy!)

Benjamin Button is no ordinary person. He is born as a wrinkled and bizarre infant. Abandoned by his father, he is raised in a nursing home looking no different from the elderly. As years passed, it becomes apparent that he is getting stronger and younger. Despite having the atypical situation, Benjamin is like any other human. He falls in and out of love, finds a job, travels, meets the love of his life, etc. The only problem is that he is aging in reverse, which means as he visibly grows younger the people around him are withering with age. The looks don’t match, you see.

This movie is intriguing. It makes you wonder about life cycle. Isn’t life one big circle? People start out as innocent baby, bloom into immature child, then we learn things and become more understanding but as time goes by, most of us will forget about the past and become immature and innocent again. There are a lot to ponder about after watching this thought provoking film but I was already too sleepy for that. Benjamin Button’s life journey is filled with ups and down and it is long and winding. Seriously, long and winding. There are many sub-stories which I could do without but it seems necessary because after all this is about a person’s whole life. I should be happy they managed to summarise it in 165 minutes.

Ben Button is a lot like Forrest Gump but more sophisticated and with bigger budget, obviously. The two actors deliver their performances well and the filmmakers did a good job but they’re playing it safe. They’re following a safe formula so nothing could go wrong. A lot of people would love this film for its sophistication, classical outlook, touching story, Brad Pitt, philosophical theme, eccentric plot, etc. It is well done but I couldn’t lavish my praises on it.

If you could watch a movie for 165 minutes without dozing off then you’re up for it.

Mel says: 8.6/10

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