Starting out old and ending up as an infant. That would be something now would it? All the problems that come with old age will eventually disappear and your body and thus life will become more energetic everyday. It has his downsides of course; you have quite a clear outlook on the time of your death (unless faith decides to step in earlier and unannounced) and the last years you’re about to undergo a form of dementia as your brain starts to undevelop as you grow younger and younger. Luckily there’s always someone who wants to look after an infant so you won’t “die” alone is a nursinghome. In The Curious Case of Benjamin Button Brad Pitt is the title character and he has the start-out-old-grow-younger-syndrome. Lucky him, or not?
Well since he’s the only one having this he’s not all that lucky. While he gets more vital he sees people next to him grow old and die. Since he’s born old and left on the doorsteps of a retirement home he’s surrounded with older people with whom he fits in with nicely of course. But people who go there to eventually die and he keeps on getting younger. That’s a childhood that really sucks…luckily he has his finest years in front of him or we would probably be seeing a movie about a depressed selfabusing man. As an elder person he meets a nice young little girl with whom he plays, in a normal way I might add. At one point in their lives their age will cross and the age difference is gone only to eventually grow again.
But before their love gets a chance to blossom Benjamin has quite the life; he learns to walk, starts working on a tug boat with captain Mike, loses his virginity in a brothel and meets his dad who owns a button-factory. Might sound familiar? Well the writer of the movie also wrote Forrest Gump, another movie about a special individual whose life we follow entirely. There are a lot more similarities, there’s even a nice montage somewhere out there on the web. It’s pretty funny so I suggest you look it up.
Even though originality might not be The Curious Case of Benjamin Button’s strongest suite, the movie itself is a worthy adversary of Forrest Gump and one of those movies that Award Juries love. Who can blame them? With talent like this on board it’s hard to imagine this movie being less than brilliant. It’s directed by David Fincher, and while he got a slow start in Hollywood with Alien 3, he is one of the most talented directors out there as he was responsible for critically acclaimed films like Se7en, Fight Club and Zodiac. The casts consists of Academy Award winners Kate Blanchet and Tilda Swinton and the lead is played by Brad Pitt. Who, unlike Ben Affleck, is not only a prettyboy but can actually act.
But is it actually brilliant then? Well, no it isn’t brilliant but it’s pretty damn close. The movie is solid entertainment, well acted and looks beautiful (although some shots, especially on the tug boat have a soundstage-with-greenscreen feeling to them). The story is interesting until the end but it does have the feeling to be specially made for juries. It’s like you hear the producer screaming to the director “make some room, we’re gonna score big during the awards season”. The gimmick of aging backwards is intriguing and funny but it also makes it more of a fantasy and thus the love story fabricated. But these are just tiny remarks on what is a fun film.