"Bizarre, Overlong Character Study"
THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON, based on the short story by F. Scott Fitzgerald, is a character-driven, star vehicle for Hollywood A-lister Brad Pitt as a man who is born with a mysterious disease where he ages backward.
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.
(Pa, Ro, B, C, Ab, Ho, LL, V, S, N, AAA, D, MM) Mostly mixed light pagan worldview with some elements of Romanticism as well as some biblical and Christian elements such as prayer, declarations such as “he’s a child of God,” Scripture is recited and hymns are sung, Christian funeral depicted, Catholic last rites depicted, but the movie contains a somewhat sardonic look at a tent revival church service, plus lesbianism discussed about a ballet troupe; 11 obscenities and four profanities as well as woman proclaiming things such as “Good Lord”; violence includes some shots of war and gunfire, some characters shot in WWII naval battle, and woman dies in childbirth; sexual content includes implied fornication, men visit a brothel, unmarried kissing, montage sequence is narrated by lead character where he tells of being with several women, adultery, unmarried couple lives together; upper male nudity, rear male nudity and women in lingerie; strong alcohol use includes multiple scenes of liquor, alcoholism, drunkenness depicted, and man throws up from drunkenness; cigarette and cigar smoking depicted; and, some lying and protagonist’s father leaves his newborn on a stranger’s doorstep.
THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON stars Brad Pitt in the title role, as a man with a mysterious disease that causes his body to grow younger as he ages. Left by his father at a home for senior citizens, Benjamin grows up among the dying elders. The one bright part of his life is young, vibrant Miss Daisy, deftly played by Elle Fanning and later by Cate Blanchett. Their lives intersect at different points. When tragedy strikes, Benjamin is there to pick Daisy up and put her back on her feet. Eventually, they get together when both of them are 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 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.