The first time I had heard of this movie, it had already been hailed as one of the frontrunners for the best motion picture at the 81st Academy awards. My curiosity piqued, I had a glance at the movie page in IMDB, and a look at the cast was enough to make me eager to watch this flick. I have been a fan of David Fincher (of Fight Club and Se7en fame), and was confident that his latest masterpiece would not disappoint his hardcore fans; not only did he live up to our expectations, but blew us away with a subtle mixture of fantasy and emotions in a 166 minutes long movie.
The movie outlines the life of Benjamin Button, who was born under bizarre circumstances. The revelation of the baby Benjamin’s strange disorder at the start does the trick of keeping the viewers on the edge of their seats, fostering their curiosity to know what would happen in the next scene of the movie. Born with the characteristics of an old man, and dumped by his father at an old age home after his mother had died in childbirth, the first half of the story portrays the wonderful relationship between the charismatic Queenie, the caretaker of the home, and young Benjamin (who appears no different from the old men and women of the house!). Also, we are introduced to Daisy, the granddaughter of one of the inmates of the house, whose presence always makes Benjamin feel younger (pun intended). The rest of the movie portrays Benjamin’s life as he becomes younger on the outside and wiser inside, and how his relationship with Daisy blossoms despite the effects of his reverse growth, and later the difficult decisions Benjamin must make to make himself less of a burden to the people he loves. This is certainly of those few movies which can make you feel a lump in your throat, and shed tears during some poignant moments. The running time of the movie might appear intimidating, but in fact I wished the movie could run longer; such is the effect the movie has on its viewers!
Each and every frame of the film has the Fincher trademark stamped on it – be it the use of dull colors to exemplify the gloomy mood of an old age home, where death is a ‘regular visitor’, or the bright colors used when Benjamin works on a boat at sea, to show the refreshing change of life which our protagonist enjoys; or the choice of background score whenever something happens inside the old age home. The screenplay by Eric Roth is astounding and original, and the dialogues are apt for most of the scenes. Brad Pitt essays the role of Benjamin Button to perfection and has proved to be a very versatile actor, ranking alongside the likes of Edward Norton and Johnny Depp. However, the highlights of the movie were the acting of the lead women in the story. Taraji Henson as Benjamin’s foster mother, Queenie, has managed to enact the role with élan, and one can’t ignore her warmth and affection for the baby Benjamin, who would in normal circumstances be branded a monster. It seemed fitting that Benjamin considered Queenie his mother, even after knowing the identity of his real mother. Cate Blanchett gives a wonderful performance as Daisy, oozing the right emotions at the right time, and plays the ideal foil to Brad Pitt. A special mention must be made on behalf of the makeup and costume department; I marveled at the fact that they could make Brad Pitt look any age, be it a teenager or a wizened old man, and yet the audience would be unable to discern if the character was actually him or some other actor.
To conclude, “The curious case of Benjamin Button” is a classical masterpiece and should not be missed out at any cost. It is a clear cut example of how reality and fantasy can be seamlessly blended into a complete, compelling and wonderfully narrated story. I would give it a 9/10!