The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button (2008)


Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BBBB

USA, 2008.  Warner Bros., Paramount Pictures, The Kennedy/Marshall Company.  Story by , , Screenplay by Eric Roth, based on the short story by .  Cinematography by .  Produced by , , .  Music by .  Production Design by .  Costume Design by .  Film Editing by , .  Academy Awards 2008American Film Institute 2008Golden Globe Awards 2008Screen Actors Guild Awards 2008.  

Southern-style tall-tales, genuine romance and a rich sense of nostalgia permeate this highly engrossing, free adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s short story of the same name. Benjamin Button (Brad Pitt) is born under the most unusual circumstances: he begins life as an old man and gradually grows younger until his death as an infant. Raised by the senior-home maid (Taraji P. Henson) who found him after he was abandoned by his father (), he sees the world, enjoys a romance with a lonely, older British woman (Tilda Swinton) and for his whole life burns for the love of a girl he met as a child. She grows up to be a ballerina (Cate Blanchett) and he grows no less fond of her as their paths cross and create a romance that tries to define the limits of time. “Nothing lasts” is the central theme of this film, and its bittersweet truth is everywhere: in the moments of beauty when Blanchett dances, in the experiences Pitt has while traveling around the globe, and in the fleeting happiness he shares with his lady love. It’s a film deeply saturated with feeling, daringly three hours long but its pace is never boring nor its sentiments trite or cheesy. The performances are terrific, the visual effects are impressive, and the fact that David Fincher has followed so many cold films with this lovely, unjaded valentine is probably the film’s most incredible surprise.

The Criterion Collection:  #476

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