THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON
Bizarre, Overlong Character Study
Release Date: December 25, 2008
Audience: Older teenagers and adults
Runtime: 167 minutes
Distributor: Paramount Pictures/Viacom
Director: David Fincher
Executive Producer: None
Writer: Eric Roth and Robin Swicord
Address Comments To:Sumner Redstone, Chairman/CEO
Brad Grey, Chairman/CEO
5555 Melrose Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90038-3197
Phone: (323) 956-5000
When his mother dies in childbirth, young Benjamin Button’s father looks upon his son for the first time. What he sees is not a newborn baby but rather a decrepit old man. He panics, grabs his child and runs out into the night. Then, he leaves the newborn old Benjamin on the doorstep of a care home for senior citizens. Nursed to health by a young African-American nurse in the care home, Benjamin grows up as well as younger among the dying populace of senior citizens. The one bright part of his early life is the young and vibrant Miss Daisy, deftly played by a young Elle Fanning and later by Cate Blanchett.
As he gets older in years, Benjamin’s body grows younger and stronger. Throughout the movie, Benjamin’s life and Miss Daisy’s life continually intersect at different points. As she ages, he grows younger. When she goes off to be a ballerina in New York, he sets off on an adventure at sea. When tragedy strikes and she is injured past the point of being able to dance, he is there to pick her up and put her back on her feet. Finally, they meet in the middle of their lives, both of them in their forties. Soon, however, he ages younger as she grows older.
THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON, although unique in concept, is mundane in execution. Rather than focusing on a dramatic arc or exceptional aspect of his life, the movie instead becomes a somewhat bloated, nearly three-hour biography of a character that never fully reaches its dramatic potential. The most exciting elements of the movie come from the computer-graphics used to simulate an aged Brad Pitt’s face on a decrepit old body and substituting a synthesized voice of Cate Blanchett on a young Elle Fanning. So, the movie feels long and unexceptional.
The movie also contains a somewhat mixed pagan worldview with some elements of morality and Christianity, such as prayer and Scripture, but it also has a somewhat sardonic, tongue-in-cheek scene in a tent revival service as well as adultery, immoral fornication and some foul language. The content is never blatantly vile, nor are the Christian elements exceptionally strong. All in all, the movie is blasé and forgettable. It never ends up being about the DRAMATIC case of Benjamin Button. Instead, it just seems CURIOUS.
THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON, although unique in concept, is mundane in execution. Rather than focusing on a dramatic arc or exceptional aspect of Benjamin’s life, it is a bloated, nearly three-hour biography that never fully reaches its dramatic potential. The movie has a mixed pagan worldview with light Christian elements and includes some foul language and sexual content. This forgettable movie never ends up being the DRAMATIC case of Benjamin Button. Instead, it just seems CURIOUS.