The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, which was released in the U.S. in 2008, is a film whose screenplay is loosely adapted from the 1920s story by F. Scott Fitzgerald having the same name. David Fincher directs the fantasy, drama, and romance movie while Eric Roth and Robin Swicord take charge of the screenplay.
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The film stirs Benjamin Button (Brad Pitt, apparent adult) as a man who is born with the look and physical maladies of a very old man and to the disappointment of everyone as he ages backwards (Scott, para. 3; Ebert, para. 1). This is the major conflict in the movie. The movie, starting nicely with greatly marinated food for thought and shifting towards an emotional ending that is as light as a feather, tells the story of Benjamin who is born just after the end of the Second World War in 1918 and lives well into the 21st century.
Benjamin’s time traveler story, set in New Orleans, is about the individuals and locations he comes across as he moves, the loves he misplaces and discovers, the pleasure of life and the sorrow of decease, and what endures beyond time. The visually and emotionally rich film tells the life of Benjamin through his diary read to an old woman named Daisy (Cate Blanchett, adult) by her daughter, Caroline (Julia Ormond). The “curious case” in Benjamin’s life is that he is born as tiny shriveled aged elderly man (Sciretta, para. 2). Nonetheless, he lives like any normal man, as he grows younger and younger until he is a fully-grown person.
Surprisingly, he dwindles to a young man and ultimately to an infant once again until he passes on in Daisy’s arms (Plowman, para.1). As a wizened geezer at the start of his weird life, Benjamin bumps into Daisy, a brilliant ballet dancer (Fisher, para. 3). After some encounters, the two establish an instant connection, which cannot be said to be either creepy or paedophilic (Lipovetsky, para. 3).
And, as they become of comparable physical age, they have a short passionate love affair. However, the contra-flow of time necessitates their separation and Benjamin departs. Eventually, when he shows up at twelve years of age, Daisy takes care of him until his death as an infant.
The technical digital trickery that Fincher uses to create the characters in the film is definitely astounding. Fincher’s technical wizardry to increase the ages of the characters and also the way he makes them to look younger, in their teenage years, is extraordinary. Of particular mention is how Daisy is shown as an aged woman in a New Orleans hospital.
The film’s director digitally tweaked Cate Blanchett’s skin so as to appear dissonantly smooth throughout the entire face, including the eyes. This is the same technique used for treating the skins of burns victims.
The entire appearances of most of the actors’ skin have a metallic gloss. This makes them to look as though they can ring when tapped. The characters do not look as young people as such. They bear more resemblance to robot-replicants from Planet West world. Thus, this is the major inconsistency evident in the movie. However, worth mentioning, the character with a real-looking appearance is that of Julia Ormond when he reads aloud from Benjamin’s diary.
Fincher demonstrated good skills in directing the film. The director winds the clock in such a manner that the wearing ordeal has an indisputable story line, which is pleasant from the beginning until the movie culminates (McCarthy, para. 4).
The film’s director added a dimension of delicacy to the movie making as it clearly stands on the shoulders of other films released during that time (Bradshaw, para. 2). Whereas he considers treating his viewers to a small number of grand, special-effect showpieces, the director places more attention in the creation of the actors.
Most importantly, as described above, the appearance of his stars: Benjamin and Daisy (as adults). At one hundred and sixty-seven minutes and no, not in reverse time, there is no time wasted; each shot is jaw dropping. Although the movie was adapted from an earlier version of a book, its screenplay is very different since it is only its title, Benjamin’s name and several aspects of the aging process that are maintained in its production.
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button is a well-made movie. The characters who participated in the story did their best. The filmmakers took no chances; they crammed each scene with detail. The century-bridging costumes developed by the production designer have are top-notch in effectively delivering the intended message.
The filmmakers concentrated in shooting mainly deep focus images so as to make best use of information in each frame. In addition, it is important to note that the depth of the blacks they accomplish shooting on digital is astonishing. Thus, the film is worth watching especially for those who want to know the importance of the aging process.
Bradshaw, Peter. “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.” Guardian.co.uk. Guardian News and Media Ltd, 2009. Web.
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Ebert, Roger. “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.” Rogerebert.com. Chicago Sun-Times, 2008. Web.
Fisher, Jonathan. “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.” Thefilmbrief.com. The Film Brief, 2008. Web.
Lipovetsky, Josh. “Curious Case of Benjamin Button – Essential Themes.” Film Insight.net. The Film Insight, 3 Jan. 2009. Web.
McCarthy, Todd. “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.” Variety. Reed Business Information, 2011. Web.
Plowman, Nick. “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.” Fataculture. Film and Television Appreciation Culture, 2009. Web.
Scott, Anthony. “It’s the Age of a Child Who Grows From a Man.” Movies. The New York Times, 2008. Web.