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Movie Review: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

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Posted on : 8:42 AM | By : Nic | In : ,

We watched this last night, and I have to say I probably shouldn't have when I am pregnant.  It is not really a happy ending and it will make you cry - except if you are pregnant this might turn into huge quaking sobbing movie rather than just a tearjerker.  Don't get me wrong - it was very good.  Just teary. lol


The movie is loosely based on a short story by F. Scott Fitzgerald, but rather than losing everything, movie Benjamin Button leads a full life and reminds me of Elwood P. Dowd from one of my favorite movies, Harvey.  Benjamin lives as a sort of spectator to the people and events around him.  His unique backwards perspective on life, starting as a child in an old man's body living in an old folk's home, then growing to middle age and gradually to a confused and angry child with dementia, forces him to watch everyone around him grow old an die.  He is very much at peace with this, although it causes him pain, and he appreciates each moment with each person his wandering life brings him.

The story is also about an old woman on her death bed in a hospital that is in the middle of a hurricane, and her daughter.  Her daughter is reading her mother Benjamin Button's journal as the storm rages stronger around them.  As they relive the story of Benjamin's life it becomes clear that Benjamin and the old woman loved each other despite their physical age difference and the circumstances that pulled them apart.  In several parts of the movie the couple finds themselves in a storm but they choose to ignore it and be together.  It becomes a love that transcends time and physical attraction.

Many people had mixed feelings about the movie.  Most felt that Brad Pitt's character Benjamin Button wasn't very appealing or that he didn't have enough emotional attachment.  The truth is that I don't think the movie was about the character at all.  He cared nothing at all for himself and is the most trustworthy, loyal person you could ever meet, but it was more about his perspective than his personality.  His incredible love for Cate Blanchett's character and her eventual understanding of who he was (or how good he was) became more important to me than how much I liked Benjamin.  

The acting was phenomenal, and even more amazing was the makeup and digital effects that made people age.  You'll have a hard time believing that Brad Pitt is not really 80 years old.  

I think the movie seemed a lot like some of the Chinese films I like.  In many Chinese films the character and even the plot are often secondary to the moral of the story or the relationships.  Benjamin is forced to live deliberately, and I like that. :)

After we watched it, John and I were discussing our favorite movies.  Here's my list of favorite most meaningful movies (including documentaries), in no particular order:

Pleasantville
The Dead Poets Society
Harvey
American Beauty
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
The Island
Wall-E
The Shawshank Redemption
Dogma
Schindler's List
Fight Club
To Kill a Mockingbird
The Life of David Gale
The Day the Earth Stood Still (original for heaven's sakes)
Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (Jimmy Stewart)
Vanilla Sky
Edward Scissorhands
Hero
Metropolis (the Rintaro anime version)
The Matrix (#2 is probably the most meaningful)
Phonebooth
The Life Aquatic
Spirited Away
Lost in Translation
I Heart Huckabees (meaningful because the girl who just wants to wear a bonnet is me)
Little Women (Winona Ryder version)
Crash
Bowling for Columbine
Fahrenheit 9/11
Planet Earth
Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room
Super Size Me
Jesus Camp
Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price
Grizzly Man

Comments (1)

Harvey is one of my favorite movies of all time!!!