Saturday, January 3, 2009

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

I don’t go to the theater very often and see new movies; I have Netflix and watch most movies for the first time when they go to DVD. However, I did go to the movies with a friend on New Year’s Eve to see The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, based on the short story by F. Scott Fitzgerald. I give it 4 and a half out of 5 stars.

Spoiler Alert! Be aware, there are movie spoilers if you read further.

Although the trailer for this movie really intrigued me, I was cautiously optimistic about the movie itself. So many times movies that have ‘Oscar Buzz’ are not all they are cracked up to be. Don’t get me started on how the Academy has changed about its idea of what it takes to make a good movie. I believe they focus more on new and controversial than what movies are actually good and would be enjoyed by the common person. I always try to Netflix Oscar winners and some nominees and I was really disappointed in several of last year’s including There Will Be Blood and No Country For Old Men (waste of time and a Netflix rental), so as I say…I was cautiously optimistic.

I really enjoyed this movie. It was beautifully filmed and edited. Both Pitt and Blanchett gave a great performance. They did a good job showing the chemistry between Benjamin and Daisy; it was something that the viewers could believe in. Blanchett’s performance as the old and dying Daisy, was truly remarkable and very realistic. I enjoyed the little added element of Hurricane Katrina coming on shore as Daisy’s life was coming to an end. It actually took me awhile to realize that the hurricane was actually supposed to be Katrina. I should have known, considering that the movie is set in New Orleans. I also enjoyed Julia Ormond’s performance as Daisy and Benjamin’s daughter Caroline, and the set up of the love story between Benjamin and Daisy through Benjamin’s journal that Daisy has Caroline read to her. Both women were learning about Benjamin’s journey through life through his own thoughts and experiences.

My one problem with the movie was the inevitable end to Benjamin’s life. I knew that he was going to continue to grow younger, but my problem was with exactly how this came about. They actually had him “grow” into a baby and then die. Now my friend couldn’t understand why this bothered me as we knew Benjamin was getting younger. My problem was with the fact that he was born as a baby (in size if not in age) and then grew in height while growing backward in age. I expected the same (well the reverse) at the end of his life… that he would have the stature of a man, but would grow into infancy in his mind, however, he began to shrink and take on the height of whatever age he was. This was the part that I could not believe, although I am sure it is not as disturbing to look at than something more like what I expected. It just did not help my ability to reach the state of “a willing suspension of disbelief”.

As a red-blooded women, I really enjoyed watching Brad Pitt getting younger and younger. As he got younger, he got hotter. By the end of Pitt's role as Benjamin, he was looking much like he did during Thelma and Louise.

All in all, it was a great movie and I would recommend you go see it if you at all like love stories or movies with a more ‘independent movie’ feel to them. If all you care about is action flicks…then this is not the movie for you.

As a side note… I have never watched a movie before with so many old people in the theater. It was kind of funny; almost like watching a movie with my dad or grandparents. I heard one guy snore. The lady in front of me took out her husband sometime during the middle of the movie and he never came back, but I saw him in the car when they were leaving. He had probably slept out in the car for the rest of the movie. Then the couple behind us kept discussing the plot as if they couldn’t quite keep up. The two old ladies in front of us didn’t figure out that Mr. Button was Benjamin’s father until he said so in the movie. It was that sort of stuff all the way through the movie.

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