Yesterday I saw The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. I give it one and a half thumbs up. If you enjoy interesting stories ala Big Fish or Forrest Gump, or you enjoy contemplating life, or you enjoy great acting, or you enjoy Brad Pitt, then you should probably go see this movie.
Before I talk about the movie, however, I want to talk about the previews. They showed four previews before the movie, and I’m excited to report that for the first time ever, I was interested in all four movies! Three of them (Duplicity, New in Town and The Soloist) I will definitely see.
Now onto the review.
First of all, it was long. I can always judge how captivated I am by a movie by whether or not I wonder what time it is at any point. This movie is close to three hours and the pace of the story is slow, so I found myself wanting to check my watch two or three different times.
Also, the concept of the film takes a little getting used to. It’s a little creepy to watch an old man acting like a child. When Benjamin meets Daisy for the first time, it feels like we’re watching a 70 year old man hitting on a 12 year old girl. As I watched, I kept having to remind myself that he was a child and not a pedophile.
The other critique I have is this. There were several events in the story line that seem to have no other purpose than to lengthen the film. In my opinion, they didn’t add any value to the story. For instance [spoiler alert], when he is about 30 years old Benjamin has an affair with a married woman. A good twenty minutes of the movie are spent detailing the affair, and then suddenly, it’s over. It’s never really referenced again, aside from a moment in a diner years later. I feel like the story would have been just as complete (and 20 minutes shorter) had that part just been left out completely. (If any of you see the movie and can help me understand the significance of this part, please enlighten me!)
However, these critiques aside, by far the best part about the movie was the acting – it was FANTASTIC. Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett are phenomenal. I knew going into the movie that I liked both of those actors, but they were able to pull off these characters in a way that far exceeded my expectations.
There’s one other the thing I noticed about the movie. The hands. The progression of the closeup shots of each character’s hands throughout the movie seems to parallel the aging process that each character experiences. I first noticed it when Benjamin learns to play the piano. Later, someone asks if his arthritic hands are painful. As he ages throughout the movie, his hands look younger. If I were writing a critical analysis of this movie for a college course, I think that’s what I’d write about. If you haven’t seen the movie yet, watch the series of hand shots. It’s very interesting.
In summary, I recommend this movie. (Except to Carolyn because she and I never agree on movies so she’d probably hate it.)