Review #717 of 365
Movie Review of The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2009) [PG-13] 159 minutes
WIP™ Scale: $14.50
Where Viewed: United Artists Denver Pavilions Stadium 15, Denver, CO
When Seen: 31 December 2008 @ 7:30 pm
DVD Release Date: Unscheduled (please check back)
After the Credits: The Paramount Logo over a Sea of Buttons
Unsung Member of the Crew: Apprentice Editor – Zach Fine
Based on the Story The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and Other Jazz Age Stories by F. Scott Fitzgerald
Featured Cast (Where You Might Remember Him/Her From):
Cate Blanchett (Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull) • Brad Pitt (Burn After Reading) • Taraji P. Henson (Talk to Me) • Mahershalalhashbaz Ali ("The 4400") • Julia Ormond ( I Know Who Killed Me) • Jason Flemyng (Mirrors) • Jared Harris ("Fringe") • Tilda Swinton (Burn After Reading) • Peter Donald Badalamenti II (Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End) • Robert Towers ("It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia") • Tom Everett ("Journeyman") • Spencer Daniels (Witchwise) • Chandler Canterbury ("Criminal Minds" ) • Charles Henry Wyson ("Gary Unmarried")
The story begins with that of Monsieur Gateau, a French immigrant blind clockmaker who loses his only son in the Great War and, hence, designs a clock to run backwards hoping to turn back time and bring back all the young men who fell victim to the horrors of war. Curiously, in the eve of the day the Great War ended, a young woman named Caroline Button (Joeanna Sayler) died giving birth to a rather unusual child. So hideous in form was he, his father Thomas (Jason Flemyng)—one of the big changes between the short story and the film—abandoned him along with $18 on the steps of a nursing home. He is found after being stepped on by a black nurse and her boyfriend that same night. While Queenie (Taraji P. Henson) found him equally grotesque, she loved the baby Benjamin with all her heart. Tizzy (Mahershalalhashbaz Ali) was skeptical, but he knew there was no changing her mind when it came to keeping the baby and raising him as her own with the story that he belonged to her sister who couldn't care for anything but herself. As Benjamin grew up, it was clear why he was so malformed as a baby, he was actually born a very, very old man. The doctors who examined him had no clue what was going on, but figured he'd die very soon.
… a magnificent love story which spans the ages with a truly beguiling series of circumstances that serves up so much hope in this present age of gloom.
Told from the pages of Benjamin's diary and read by a young woman named Caroline (Julia Ormond) to her dying mother in the hospital bed just before Hurricane Katrina hits New Orleans, there's an entirely other story going on outside in that hospital room that will only be revealed through sleuthing or waiting until the very end of this incredibly elaborate tale. Credit Eric Roth and David Fincher for developing such a majestic tale that resonates across the ages and fulfills a fantasy most people, as they grow up and age, figure out would be the coolest of all things and reverse one of life's cruelest ironies. You don't figure out how much you love life and want to live until a time when your body is woefully incapable of living that life. Not so for Benjamin Button, the dude gets his 17-year old body when he's in his 60s. Imagine how cool that would be, gentlemen! Embedded in this message, though is the hope that everyone will learn to cherish the moments and their loved ones in spite of their frailties. Grab on to the passion of life and run with it.
Brad Pitt fans, well, you've never seen Brad Pitt really act before this year. His hilarious performance and one of the few redeeming things about Burn After Reading, and now this enchanting performance for the middle years of Benjamin Button is incredible. As an actor, he's hitting his stride and renaissance. Forget that "Sexiest Man Alive" thing and really pay attention to him. This is a legendary performance well worthy of brilliant critical acclaim.
… you've never seen Brad Pitt really act before …
Peter Donald Badalamenti II...Benjamin 1928-31
Robert Towers...Benjamin 1932-34
Tom Everett...Benjamin 1935-37
Brad Pitt...Benjamin 1938-Age 17
Spencer Daniels...Benjamin - Age 12
Chandler Canterbury...Benjamin - Age 8
Charles Henry Wyson...Benjamin - Age 6
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Other Projects Featuring The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008)
Cate Blanchett • Brad Pitt • Taraji P. Henson
Mahershalalhashbaz Ali • Julia Ormond • Jason Flemyng
Jared Harris • Tilda Swinton • Peter Donald Badalamenti II
Robert Towers • Charles Henry Wyson • Spencer Daniels