REVIEW: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (Dir. David Fincher)
Posted on January 14, 2009 by Chris Nash
It’s been a tradition for the past few years to see a movie on Christmas day instead of spending time with my family.
A lot of people were at the theatre when I got there; A quick scan of the crowd told me most of these people were home for the holidays before returning to school.
The majority of them were boyfriends (who didn’t leave town) accompanied by their girlfriends (who were in their first year of post-secondary school) — it was written all over them. The same girls that were only months ago wearing stripped leggings under an oversized hoodie covered in crazy shit were now draped in pea-coats and scarves, while their trashbag boyfriends still wore their trucker hats (which are still cool in Sault Ste Marie where I live) and Fox Racing jackets. Both seemed clueless to the fact that this would probably be their last date together.
Even for Christmas day the theatre was fairly packed; and for a two-hour movie it was a rather breezy time. But that’s all David Fincher; the guy knows how to make a long movie seem at least half an hour shorter than its actual length: keep it moving and keep giving the audience new information (a tactic used in both Zodiac and Fight Club)
Cate Blanchett and Brad Pitt do little with their roles, and fall back on composited CGI versions of themselves to do most of the acting, which is a shame and a waste. Pitt’s role as the title character is especially underrepresented — relying almost entirely on narration rather than interaction to emotionally engage the audience.
The script, by screenwriter Eric Roth, felt too much like his work on Forest Gump. It’s basically Forest Gump, if he was physically handicapped instead of mentally handicapped. And then instead of being physically handicapped, he was magically handicapped.
But the biggest downfall of the movie is the ending. As Benjamin grows younger, it gets to a point where they can’t keep using Brad Pitt CGI mutants, and have to use a younger actor. So, as soon as you see the teenage version of Benjamin, you’re pulled out of the movie. It’s no longer the same character. He doesn’t even really look like how you figure Brad Pitt would look as a teenager. At that point the audience doesn’t care. They’re no longer following the story of Benjamin Button – that was Brad Pitt’s story, not some teenagers.
As the credits rolled, we began walking out; passing the same young couples we came in with. The pea-coated girlfriends, who felt newly enlightened because they were in university, defended the movie to their trucker-cap boyfriends, who thought it was dumb and long. After a short back-and-forth, the girlfriends just stopped arguing. Their boyfriends weren’t going to get it. They’d never understand because they haven’t experienced life yet, not like they had anyway. And later on in the night the larger revelation would hit — not only did their boyfriends not ‘get’ the movie, but they didn’t get them anymore either. They would have to break up. She’s in university, she wants to travel, she wants to grow and live life and settle down when she’s ready. Her and her boyfriend were just different people. We all know those girls (btw those girls, fuck you. Die sad and alone — with guys still not ‘getting’ you.)
And then it hits that Benjamin Button is the perfect guy for these girls. While they’re young and stupid, he’s the older, mature, worldly man they feel they can learn from; And when they get old and their vaginas start to dry out (science), he’ll be the bucking young stud ready to fuck them until they orgasm all of the dead, unused eggs out of their wombs (also science).
That said, I still enjoyed The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. Although it’s not a movie that I would feel the need to see immediately again, it does have a fairy tale air that appeals to both adults and children. Not one of the best movies of the year, but still a great movie.