Dying Young

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (Theaters – December 2008; Streaming – May 2009) M Button 2008Rated: PG  —  Runtime: 166 minutes

Genre: Drama – Fantasy – Mystery – Romance – Suspense

els – 7.5/10

IMDB – 7.8/10

Amazon – 4.6/5 stars

Rotten Tomatoes Critics – 7.1/10

Rotten Tomatoes Audience – 3.7/5

Metacritic Metascore – 70/100

Metacritic User Score – 7.3/10

Awards:  3 Academy Awards – Nominated for 13

Director:  David Fincher

Written by:  Eric Roth (story and screenplay), Robin Swicord (story), F. Scott Fitzgerald (story)

Music by:  Alexandre Desplat

Cast:  Brad Pitt, Cate Blanchett, Julia Ormond

Film Locations:  Cambodia; Montreal, Canada; India; Burbank, Los Angeles, California – Donaldsonville, Laplace, Mandeville, Morgan City, New Orleans, Louisiana, US; St. Thomas, US Virgin Island

Budget:  $167,000,000

Worldwide Take:  $379,000,000

Mr. Gateau, the best clockmaker in all of the southern US, is commissioned to build a clock for a new train station set to open in 1918. When the clock is unveiled, it is running backwards. Mr. Gateau, who lost a son to the recent war, affirms that it is running as designed; to  grant those lost to the war a way back to life and the living.  On 11 November 1918, Armistice Day, Benjamin Button (Brad Pitt) is born, wrinkled and worn, losing his mother to his birth and his father, abandoning him on the porch of an orphanage. Benjamin is a consistent contradiction, experiencing life in a counter-clockwise direction.

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button took 20 years, 7 potential directors prior to Fincher, 3 lead actors before Pitt, 3 different possible producers, and 2 production companies to finally deliver a product for the viewing public to consume. David Fincher brings his visual effect expertise to the forefront, as he usually does, with this enchanted story of love and time. He balances the CGI with a spellbinding collage of romance and courage that moves beyond the flesh. The visual effects are absolutely stunning, keeping this fantasy real and believable.  Fincher was likely the only director that could make this movie and keep the audience interested.

Brad Pitt contributes a somewhat predictable performance, detached but lovable, low-key and restrained, letting his body language provide the message, more so than his dialogue. It works and adds to the mystic of the film but it’s Cate Blanchett’s Daisy that draws you into this movie.  Daisy is a very complex character and Blanchett handles it with grace, charm, and a natural style that holds you in a delightful, enamored state of wonder throughout the film. Sad that she wasn’t even nominated for her more than deserving efforts by the Academy or the Golden Globes.

Benjamin Button is beautifully made, telling a story of true love that outstrips the concepts of time.

 

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