The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Top Links
trailers and videosfull cast and crewtriviaofficial sitesmemorable quotes
main detailscombined detailsfull cast and crewcompany credits
Awards & Reviews
user reviewsexternal reviewsawardsuser ratingsparents guide
Plot & Quotes
plot summarysynopsisplot keywordsmemorable quotes
Did You Know?
triviagoofssoundtrack listingcrazy creditsalternate versionsmovie connectionsFAQ
Other Info
box office/businessrelease datesfilming locationstechnical specsliterature listingsNewsDesk
taglines trailers and videos posters photo gallery
External Links
showtimesofficial sitesmiscellaneousphotographssound clipsvideo clips
The content of this page was created directly by users and has not been screened or verified by IMDb staff.
Visit our FAQ Help to learn more
Unable to edit? Request access

FAQ Contents

The following FAQ entries may contain spoilers. Only the biggest ones (if any) will be covered with spoiler tags. Spoiler tags are used sparingly in order to make the page more readable.

For detailed information about the amounts and types of (a) sex and nudity, (b) violence and gore, (c) profanity, (d) alcohol, drugs and smoking, and (e) frightening and intense scenes in this movie, consult the IMDb Parents Guide for this movie. The Parents Guide for The Curious Case of Benjamin Button can be found here.

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button is a short story by F. Scott Fitzgerald published in 1922. It was adapted for the movie by American screenwriter Eric Roth.

Yes. Try here. A complete recording of the original unabridged version of the short story can be found at the Internet Archive here.

Both the story and movie are conceptually the same (the basic plots concern a man who ages backwards). Benjamin Button is born with a long white beard and is barely small enough to cram into a baby crib but is able to speak hours after birth and shows no interest in playing with toys. He ages backwards, physically as well as mentally. However, there are minor variations between the short story and movie, e.g., (1) the short story is set in Baltimore; the movie in New Orleans, (2) Benjamin's love interest in the movie is named Daisy; in the story, her name is Hildegarde, (3) Benjamin has a son in the story; in the movie, he has a daughter, and (4) Benjamin is born in a hospital, not at home, and is 70 years old, not 85. One significant difference is that in the story, Benjamin is raised by his parents (his mother does not die in childbirth) and is eventually taken care of by his own son, Roscoe. In the movie however, Mr. Button abandons the newborn in front of a home for the elderly, where he is taken in by a nurse who mothers him for the rest of her life. Also in the story, Benjamin never suffers from dementia, only the lack of memory or conscious thought one would expect from a baby. He does not see Hildegarde again.

Yes. In an in interview for Reuters: "More difficult than creating a convincing older character on screen, Blanchett said, were the dance combinations she was required to learn and perform for the film. Her own formal instruction in ballet ended in childhood, but Blanchett said she later studied movement in drama school. For Benjamin Button, Blanchett worked extensively with a choreographer and performed all her own dance scenes, though a stand-in was used for a couple of shots, including a sequence of really quick turns, she said."

Very much so. A number of people have noted the similarities, especially considering the two films were written by Eric Roth. Examples: A white man is born fatherless in the south with birth defects that lead many to think he may never walk nor live a normal life. His saintly mother believes in his potential anyway. At a young age, the man learns to walk and sheds his exoskeleton of locomotive aids. Around this time, he also meets the love of his life, a vivacious girl who grows into a bold woman who parts ways with the man to have her own wild adventures. Meanwhile, the man reaches adulthood, and puts in a wartime stint in the U.S. military. During this stint, the man proves at first an indifferent asset, but during his one firefight, he turns out to be very valuable, saving the day single-handedly, while also witnessing the death of one of his best friends. The man also spends much time on a small ocean vessel, serving alongside a rowdy, grizzled, hard-drinking man of the sea. This salty sailor serves as one of our man's two best male friends; the other is a black man who first teaches our man the lessons of friendship before departing forever. Our man wanders all around the world, his life brushing up against key historical moments of the 20th century. At some point he returns to his childhood home, and his mother dies. The man comes into considerable wealth through blind luck. Around this time, his lifelong love returns from her adventures, ready to commit to him. During their brief time together, they conceive a child. The couple part ways, due to the woman's perceived inability to take care of the man. He does not raise the child through its early years but later makes an appearance. The woman eventually dies in bed from illness. The man's later years are hardly touched on, even though the movie has lavished much attention on his early and middle years. The entire story dwells repeatedly on the theme of life's uncertainty and, in contrast, on the notion of fate or coincidence. The film's symbol for these themes is a small object seen hovering improbably in the air. A narrative frame scene punctuates the story, as does the main characters drawling voice-over. For more information on the comparison, see The Curious Case of Forrest Gump and "Name That Film" analysis "A Curious Case".

It is not explained in the film although Benjamin ponders the idea that perhaps a higher power made him the way he is for an unknown reason. It is probably no coincidence that the movie begins with a story about a blind clockmaker who, after losing his son in the war, created a station clock that goes backward in time. He did this as an act of symbolism, out of a wish that he could turn back time so his son could live again. The man was never seen again, presumably dead of a broken heart. So, as some sort of cosmic compensation, perhaps the higher powers gave something back, bestowing Benjamin with the gift of living backwards, giving him strength and health with every year instead of taking it. It's probably also no coincidence that this happened in 1918, the same year Benjamin was born.

Almost 2 hours into the movie. Afterwards the special effects resume as he grows younger, after which he is replaced by younger actors.

One question some have asked in regards to the film, is when Daisy tells her daughter about Monsieur Gateau, who fashioned a clock that ran backwards. Some have wondered if when the clock started up, this somehow had an effect over the yet-to-be-born Benjamin. However, the idea behind Gateau's clock could just be one way to explain how some people see things. Monsieur Gateau explained that he built his clock to run backwards, as a way to possibly turn back time, and the many people who died in the Great War, could come home, and live prosperous lives and families. His viewpoint presents one of several that we hear, as opposed to one told to Benjamin at the home he lived in. One person notes that if you were to age backwards, it would be a sad thing because everyone you knew would soon be old and dead.

In the short story, Benjamin is actually born fully grown, the size of a wrinkled old man. It is not explained how exactly this happened, but it stuns everyone. He grows taller and stands straighter as he grows older and looks younger, and begins to shrink to a baby's size as he ages. The most straightforward as to why this particular point was not translated into the movie would be that the film tries to remain as realistic as possible. This has warranted several changes from the book that would not have worked in the movie. There is simply no physical way for an old man to grow inside, let alone be born from a normal sized woman. Another example: the Benjamin in the book was able to talk almost directly after birth. We know that in real life, speech is a complex skill learned over many years through tedious repetition and trial-and-error. Even with an adult brain capacity, it would be impossible to master a language within hours (a simpler task such as learning to ride a bike at that age would take more time than that). Therefore, the movie Benjamin needs about the same amount of years to learn speech as a normal child would. These changes help to give the outlandish idea of a man ageing backwards some sense.

Perhaps one of the earliest influences of progeria on popular culture occurred in the 1922 short story "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" by F. Scott Fitzgerald (and later released as a feature film in 2008). The main character, Benjamin Button, is born as a seventy-year-old man and ages backwards; it has been suggested that this was inspired by progeria.


Related Links

Plot summary Plot synopsis Parents Guide
Trivia Quotes Goofs
Soundtrack listing Crazy credits Movie connections
User reviews Main details