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The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008)

July 4, 2009

VERDICT:
8/10 Horrifying Infants

I actually went and saw this twice when it was out in theaters. Not often that I dish out twelve bucks on the same movie two times, but this was a good one.

Benjamin Button is about guy who is physically born “under unusual circumstances” as a decrepit old man/wrinkled newborn/total freak of nature. So as time goes on, his mind develops normally while his body ages in reverse from rickety old geezer to young stud. Along the way he falls in love with a woman who is aging the way a normal human being should, and they have a pretty complicated relationship as a result.

Awkward.

I had high expectations going into this movie not because of its story or because of pretty boy Brad Pitt (shocking, I know), but because it’s directed by one of the best film makers out there right now, David Fincher. The highlights of Mr. Fincher’s career include these family favorites: Fight Club, Seven, The Game and Zodiac.

His resume’ speaks for itself, he’s got a great, dark visual style that no one else has, and he knows how to tell a good story. That makes him the man. And go see those movies if you haven’t already.

While Benjamin Button isn’t Fincher’s best movie, it’s probably his most insightful next Seven (in a totally different way). The best part about this movie isn’t the special effects, or the acting, or the story, or the directing, it’s the message. The script has a handful of really beautiful, subtle moments that turn this is movie into one of the best and most genuinely affecting meditations on life and death I’ve ever seen.

One of those movies that makes you smile just thinking about how great it is to be alive. We need more of those kinds of movies.

The whole “aging in reverse” thing is a pretty complicated concept for a movie, but it’s all executed very simply and it’s pretty cool to watch anyway. It’s not very flashy or overdone, the story moves along at a good pace, and whenever I thought about it after I left the theater, I always found myself reflecting on how nice and pleasant the overall experience was.

Brad Pitt is fine, I thought Cate Blanchett was pretty good even though it seems like no one else did, but I don’t know what it is that about this movie that really brings it all together. It’s epic in scope and it all feels kind of surreal with all the various people that Benjamin meets along the way and all the crazy antics he gets into. I guess it’s just kind of mesmerizing to watch him grow young and figure out life from back to front.

And I’ve already heard all the claims that this is just a Forrest Gump knockoff. While I can see the similarities when it comes to story structure and whatnot, they’re still two different movies. Even if Forrest Gump all of a sudden started aging backwards, you’d still have two different movies. That’s a bullshit reason not to give this movie a fair shot.

If only more movies reminded us of Forrest Gump. That’s a freakin’ great movie.

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button is one of the better movies that came out in 2008. I hardly noticed the long running time, it’s a swell date movie, and I’d recommend it to anyone.

It’s also based on my life.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. July 23, 2009 6:29 pm

    It is a very perfect date movie. This film was probably the lightest of all of Fincher’s films and this shows that he can direct anything. Really I thought this film had Golden Raspberry Awards written all over it but as soon as I saw this I was changed about my outlook on life. This made me laugh, made me cry, but most of all made me be happy about the life that I have.

    • Aiden R permalink*
      July 23, 2009 9:11 pm

      Liked it more than I thought I would, but it’s David Fincher, and he’s the fuckin’ man. I agree, makes you feel pretty good about life.

  2. Marc permalink
    January 22, 2010 3:34 pm

    One of the finest movies I’ve ever seen. I wasn’t expecting it to be this good but also, as you put it, Fincher’s the “fuckin’ man”.

    This movie is so beautiful in all respects, music, scenery, Cate Blanchette, and the whole thing plays out like movie artwork. IMO, you could take any frame from this movie and hang it on you wall. Just gorgeous.

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