Didn’t get what you wanted for Christmas? Well not to worry, because Hollywood is dropping off some fantastic last minute gifts which are sure to brighten you Holiday spirits. The best of which may also be the longest in run time. The Curious Case of Benjamin Buttons clocks in at 159 minutes, but as you’ll come to find out, every moment is well worth it.
Brad Pitt plays the title role of a New Orleans man who was born old and appears to be aging backwards. Under these “unusual circumstances” the young orphan starts off life with losing most of his friends, falling in love and having a surrogate mother who is at least sixty years his junior. Starting in the early 1920′s, the film evenly progresses through seven decades of life. All of which are filled with fate, destiny, and many colorful characters who help Benjamin along his journey. When we come to the end we are left with a story that is thoroughly complete, engaging, and easily enjoyable.
Noteworthy performances come from a supremely talented cast that includes Julia Ormond, Tilda Swinton, Taraji P. Henson, and the disarmingly beautiful Cate Blanchett who portrays Benjamin’s life long love. While I’m thoroughly convinced that Pitt made a deal with the devil for good looks, he proves once again his ability to deliver a character that require a perfect balance of subtlety and awareness.
If you want to be chronologically correct, F. Scott Fitzgerald gets credit for coming up with this story in the first place. However, big kudos must go to the collaborative efforts of Director David Fincher and Writer Eric Roth for putting together such a simple yet profoundly moving tale. The incredible makeup team and special effects were so realistic that they were almost impossible to notice, but what’s even more impressive is how the key point of time is dealt with in the story. Small changes such as the characters wardrobe and a duplex TV which broadcast the Beatles first television appearance, do so much with so little. Fincher wisely the makes the film into a timeless tale rather than a tale about time. While it’s never blatant, Benjamin Buttons manages to relay something that we need reminding of at this time of year, that the most important things in life are the relationships we have with others.
While I admit to not having seen The Wrestler or Slumdog Millionaire which both seem to be generating big Oscar buzz, this is the first movie of awards season which truly caught my attention for multiple nomination locks. Already with five nods from the Golden Globes, one things for certain, Button will deservedly go home with one type of shiny accolade to sit on the mantle.