The Curious Case of Benjamin Button Review

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The Curious Case of Benjamin Button Movie PosterWell, my skiing didn’t get much better on Sunday than it had been on Saturday and part of that was due to lousy conditions for our first visit to Windham Mountain in New York. It looks like the kind of place I’d like if the weather would have cooperated. However with temperatures pushing 60 degrees it’s hard to expect much of anything with regard to keeping snow going. The plan is to head back for the end of this week into the weekend and temperatures look like they’ll be more in line with this time of year. Four days of skiing was cut to three before we ever got to started on the road and then down to two after skiing the first two days. Talk about exhausting.

Anyway, on Sunday night we decided to go back to the theater to catch another big movie of the season, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, starring Brad Pitt along with Cate Blanchett and Tilda Swinton. It’s adapted from a 1920s story by F. Scott Fitzgerald about a man who is born in his eighties and ages backwards.

The acting was, as expected, first-rate. The effects and look of the movie were top-notch. The ability of camera work and effects to make the actors look as young and old as they’re presented here was exceptional. The shots of flashbacks were notable for their genuine look. I would be surprised if this doesn’t get the movie an Oscar nomination at the very least.

My problems with the movie, however, were numerous and several of them I can’t mention here as it would spoil much of the plot. Suffice to say that many of the plot points just didn’t work for me. I couldn’t suspend my disbelief enough to enjoy the tale.

From very near the beginning I felt like this was a movie trying to go where Forrest Gump went before. I then found that the script was written by the same person who wrote the Gump script. This is, at best, Gump Lite. What’s worse is that its long 2 hour 47 minute running time feels much longer. Many elements were visited, re-visited and revisited yet again for no benefit. The present day scenes in a hospital are disjointed and feel forced as if the writers didn’t know how best to keep the past events moving on their own merit. The biggest problem of all revolves around how Benjamin came to suffer his unique fate. It just wasn’t believable.

There are some nice bits. One character regales us with his life experiences with lightning that you find yourself looking forward to. The ending is also surprisingly powerful, though even it suffers from some confused thinking. All in all I came away very disappointed by a movie many are touting as one of the year’s best efforts.

Why I Wanted To See It:
Compelling fantasy plot. Lots of Best Picture talk. Cate Blanchett.

Preconceived Notions:
Would the movie be as compelling as the previews? What’s his story? How could this happen?

During The Movie:
Great look. Boredom. Overly long scenes. Why does almost no one seem shocked?

Immediate Afterthoughts:
The movie was just way too long for what it was. The final pay-off was emotional but not worth the long investment that came before it. So many of the plot points seemed almost ripped from the pages of Forrest Gump. The 1957 movie, The Incredible Shrinking Man did this type of story much better.

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