The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

MPAA Rated – PG-13
It’s 2:47 Long
A Review by:
The Dude on the Right

The Curious Case
of Benjamin Button
Movie Stats & Links
Starring: Cate Blanchett, Brad Pitt, Tilda Swinton
MPAA Rated: PG-13
Released By: Paramount Pictures & Warner Bros.
Release Date: 2008
Kiddie Movie: They’d probably get tired and bored.
Date Movie: If she’s okay with a long movie.
Gratuitous Sex: There are suggestions. Hey, Benjamin does grow up, I mean young.
Gratuitous Violence: Benjamin does go through World War II, but nothing horrible.
Action: Not really.
Laughs: Quite a few one-liners keep things light-hearted.
Memorable Scene: Brad Pitt as an old, I mean young man.
Memorable Quote: “That’s the saddest story I ever heard.”
Directed By: David Fincher

For as long as I can remember after seeing the first trailer for “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button,” I couldn’t figure out how they were going to have Brad Pitt “reverse” age. I mean, how do you start out as an old, full-sized man, and then end up as a little baby? The TV show “Mork & Mindy” pulled it off because, well, they were aliens, but the trailers showed an old man in the mirror looking sort of like Brad Pitt, and then Brad Pitt looking like, well, Brad Pitt. I must say that as the movie began, it finally made sense how Benjamin would age backwards, but then the ending just seemed wrong. Anyway, let’s get to the story.

“The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” opens with Daisy (Cate Blanchett) as an old, dying woman, in a hospital in New Orleans, just as Hurricane Katrina is bearing down on the gulf. Her daughter Caroline (Julia Ormond) is with her, and then Daisy has Caroline read from a diary and the story of Benjamin Buttons begins.

We learn of Benjamin’s birth, as a grotesque, old-looking baby, whose father leaves him on a doorstep to be raised by others at a home for old people, where, even though he’s kinda gross, the old people can relate. The problem is, instead of dying, the baby begins to grow up, but as he grows up in size and learns to speak and walk, he also reverses in physical appearance, looking younger and younger every day. As the story goes, Benjamin grows older as children do, realizing he likes girls (especially Daisy, who is too young for him because he, well, right now looks too old), wants to see the world, seeks adventure (finding it on a tug-boat that turns into a navy vessel, thereby giving Benjamin a sense of purpose, love and sex, and friendship), but always has a place in his heart for the old homestead, and Caroline. There finally comes a time when Benjamin and Caroline are the appropriate age, do the dirty deed, I mean make love, have a child amongst themselves, and life happily ever after, sort of.

Sure, I could give away a lot of the plot elements, like Benjamin having an affair with a lady who swims, who his father is, and how he dies (please, don’t bitch at me about giving away that he dies – it’s a story about the life of Benjamin Button – of course he dies), but what fun would that be? Actually, I so want to give away how he dies because I really didn’t like it, but maybe I’ll wait for the DVD review to give that away, and how I thought it was carried out wrong.

The thing is, I really liked “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button,” except for, well, how he died, and I’m torn if I should let that influence my rating. You see, it’s really a nice story and a curious take on life and growing old, the acting in the movie is fantastic across the board, and the effects of making Brad Pitt start as an old man and reverse age are utterly fantastic (ladies, you will easily remember how you fell in love with him during his “Thelma & Louise” phase, and I’m thinking Angelina Jolie is probably saying “You know, he has great potential to be a hot looking older dude!”). Some people are complaining the movie is too long (it clocks in at almost the three hour mark) but come on, you can’t squeeze 80 years of a person’s life in an hour and half, and really, it doesn’t play out that long. I sort of wish, though that more time would have been spent with Benjamin as an old man, or rather, I mean as a young man, I mean, when he was an old man but looked like a young man, although I suppose his true formative years were when he was an old man, I mean a young man, I mean when he was young but looked like an old man.

Visually the movie does deserve a trip to the movie theater, and I suppose, Benjamin’s death aside, it’s a great movie, so I’ll just leave my rating at a very solid 4 stars out of 5. The story is entertaining, the effects are fantastic, the acting is entertaining, and Brad Pitt sure has come a long way from his “I’m just a hot piece of ass” days. If you don’t see the movie in the theater, which I do recommend, put it high in your Netflix queue when it makes it to video.

That’s it for this one! I’m The Dude on the Right!! L8R!!!