The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008)

curious case of benjamin button poster 2008 movie
8.0 Overall Score
Story: 8/10
Acting: 8/10
Visuals: 9/10

Good looking, interesting concept

Too long, not enough exploration of themes

Movie Info

Movie Name:  The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

Studio:   Paramount Pictures

Genre(s):   Drama/Romance/Sci-Fi/Fantasy

Release Date(s):   December 25, 2008

MPAA Rating:   PG-13

curious case of benjamin button taraji p henson baby

A proud mother

Benjamin Button (Brad Pitt) was born to a different life.  Born resembling an old man, Benjamin grew into an old man…and then began to grow younger.  Living life in reverse provides a different take on life and love.  Meeting a young girl named Daisy Fuller (Elle Fanning), Benjamin finds that despite the physical age difference, they are united in spirit.  As Daisy (Cate Blanchett) ages, Benjamin grows younger and events in the world and their lives bring them together.  Unfortunately, time has its own ideas on life and time works in mysterious ways.  Love that is meant forever could only be a brief fleeting moment, and Benjamin and Daisy’s love could be doomed…unless they make the most of it.

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If only “Stayin’ Alive” had been playing during this scene as he struts

Directed by David Fincher, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button is based on the short story by F. Scott Fitzgerald first published in Colliers magazine on May 27, 1922 and later included in Tales of the Jazz Age also published in 1922.  The film was met with positive reviews and won Academy Awards for Best Art Direction, Best Makeup, and Best Visual Effects with nominations for Best Picture, Best Actor (Brad Pitt), Best Supporting Actress (Taraji P. Henson), Best Directing, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Cinematography, Best Film Editing, Best Costume Design, Best Original Score, and Best Sound Mixing.  The Criterion Collection released a remastered version of the film (Criterion #476).

I like David Fincher but I couldn’t get excited about The Curious Case of Benjamin Button when it was released.  It sometimes kind of plays as a better Forrest Gump (even with a version of Captain Dan) with Benjamin’s adventures through time and historical events from World War I all the way up to Hurricane Katrina.  It isn’t a bad film, but it also

curious case of benjamin button daisy cate blanchett brad pitt

You can only be at the same place at the same time one time in life

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button just by story definition is strange.  It is a bit of a sci-fi film with the concept, but it is treated like a normal drama.  Other than the ending, much of Benjamin’s experiences are about life and not his odd condition that is rarely questioned by anyone he meets.  The whole idea of “if I knew then what I know now” and the youth is wasted on the young become ideas of the story and in a way disproved through the course of the film.

The cast is strong.  Brad Pitt carries the movie as the lead character but he is supported by a great cast.  Cate Blanchett’s Daisy is good (especially the encounter with the younger “free” dancer period) and her old woman acting with her daughter played by Julia Ormond is believable.  Taraji P. Henson is great as Benjamin’s adopted and understanding mother though I wish Mahershala Ali had a bigger role.  Tilda Swinton, Jared Harris, and Elias Koteas all have smaller (but important) roles in the film.

curious case of benjamin button daisy ending baby cate blanchette

Regardless how you age, everyone ends up in the same place

Like a lot of Fincher’s films, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button excels visually.  The movie’s make-up and special effects to age (and then de-age) Brad Pitt are great, but you also have to consider the special effects of the characters around Pitt who have to age as well.

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button is an interesting movie about time and the course of life.  I still don’t love the movie, but I do respect it (I wish that it had been cut down by about thirty minutes).  Being a somewhat period piece, the movie should age well and the solid special effects will help that happen.  Benjamin shows that life is what you make of it no matter how you appear physically.

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Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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