Oscar Reviews: Curious Case of Benjamin Button

Emily McCready ('11)/Eastside Editorial Assistant

Oscar Nominations (13):

– Best Picture (Frank Marshall, Kathleen Kennedy, Cean Chaffin)
– Director (David Fincher)
– Actor (Brad Pitt)
– Adapted Screenplay (Eric Roth)
– Supporting Actress (Taraji P. Henson)
– Art Direction (Donald Graham Burt, Victor J. Zolfo)
– Cinematography (Claudio Miranda)
– Costume Design (Jacqueline West)
– Film Editing (Kirk Baxter, Angus Wall)
– Makeup (Greg Cannon)
– Original Score (Alexandre Desplat)
– Sound (David Parker, Michael Sermanick, Ren Klyce, Mark Weingarten)
– Visual Effects (Eric Barba, Steve Preeg, Burt Dalton, Craig Barron)

Obviously, individuals do not possess the ability to stop time, but Benjamin Button’s time on earth is severely altered. Adapted from F. Scott Fitzgerald’s 1920’s short-story, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button brilliantly portrays the tragic tale of a man born under unusual circumstances.

In a small town in New Orleans, Benjamin is born into an unfortunate situation. Caroline (Joeanna Sayler), Benjamin’s mother, dies during child birth and Benjamin is born with the frail and wrinkled skin of an elderly man well into his 80’s. Afraid and alone, her husband, Thomas (Jayson Flemyng), abandons his son on the stoop of a stranger’s house.

Queenie (Taraji P. Henson), the woman who finds Benjamin, owns very few material possessions but offers everything to this “miracle” of life. With her husband, Queenie raises Benjamin in the nursing home she operates, a place where “death is a common visitor.” However, as the movie unfolds, it is apparent that the story itself is not one of death, but of life.

As Benjamin ages, he confronts the effects of his bizarre handicap. Remarkably, as people around him grow older as they age, his own body appears to be growing more youthful. He meets many different people, both old and young, and hears their stories. He is particularly enchanted by a seven-year-old girl, Daisy (Elle Channing), the granddaughter of a nursing home resident.

Unquestionably, the cast was well selected. From the onset, Brad Pitt manages to capture the magic and innocence of a child while bearing the body of an eighty-year old man. Pitt and Blanchett (as the grown-up Daisy) share an undeniable chemistry, tugging at the audience’s heartstrings with ease. Every actor adjusted to the age progression comfortably, a remarkable aspect the audience is sure to notice.

Captivating and honest, the movie does not hold back from exposing the harsh realities of life and love. The highly emotional movie calls for a mature and open mind, and a compliance to witness the extent of Benjamin’s life from beginning to end- 2 hours and 48 minutes in total. Though the engrossing plot may be slightly extensive, allowing your mind to be flooded will lead to an irrevocable smile sure to warm your face, and your heart. For a film so impractical, the audience is left with a message so real- love outlasts any barriers of time, even the most curious of them all.