Monday, December 29, 2008

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

Well, today is my birthday, and while I didn't get what I wanted (a Bears win against the Texans with me there rooting them on and a playoff berth) I did see an outstanding film this weekend, so you take what you get and make the most of it.

David Fincher's latest film is very unlike anything that he's done before (Se7en, Fight Club, Zodiac), but that is fitting because The Curious Case of Benjamin Button is very unlike most films.  The only film that I can even try to compare it to is Forrest Gump, because there are definitely some similarities, but it is very different from Forrest Gump as well.

I'm sure you know the basic premise, Brad Pitt plays Benjamin Button, a character who ages backwards.  He is born a baby sized Old Man and while his body grows younger his mind grows older.  The movie is a look at his entire life tied together by the love he has for a woman he meets in childhood played as a young girl by Elle Fanning, and then into adulthood by the ever engaging Cate Blanchett, who is as fantastic as ever.  Brad Pitt is also amazing as the title character.  Like Forrest Gump, many interesting side characters abound ("Did I ever tell you I got struck by lightning seven times?") that help to flesh out the life that Button has lived. 

Without a doubt, the characters and their trials will bring you to laughter and to tears, but will never bore you.
The movie is nearly 3 hours, but I didn't know that until I saw the running time today well after I'd seen the film which just flies by.

As I said, the story is framed by the relationship of Benjamin Button and Daisy (Blanchett's character).  The story is told in flashback by an elderly Blanchett to her daughter aided by Button's diary and Daisy's own memories with a backdrop of Hurricane Katrina headed towards New Orleans (where much of the story takes place).  While such a setting might seem strange, it completely worked for me as the impending destruction that we know is coming adds an interesting feel to the story whose outcome we don't know.

There are many other things that I would love to comment on and say about this film, but it's much better experienced without knowing too much about what is coming.

Until Next Time, while the Bears didn't give me a very good birthday present, I'm glad that David Fincher remembered to treat me right.

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