On the day that Hurricane Katrina hits New Orleans, elderly Daisy Williams (nee Fuller) is on her deathbed in a New Orleans hospital. At her side is her adult daughter, Caroline. Daisy asks Caroline to read to her aloud the diary of Daisy's lifelong friend, Benjamin Button. Benjamin's diary recounts his entire extraordinary life, the primary unusual aspect of which was his aging backwards, being diagnosed with several aging diseases at birth and thus given little chance of survival, but who does survive and gets younger with time. Abandoned by his biological father, Thomas Button, after Benjamin's biological mother died in childbirth, Benjamin was raised by Queenie, a black woman and caregiver at a seniors home. Daisy's grandmother was a resident at that home, which is where she first met Benjamin. Although separated through the years, Daisy and Benjamin remain in contact throughout their lives, reconnecting in their forties when in age they finally match up. Some of the revelations ...Written by
Before seeing The Curious Case of Benjamin Button I wondered how I would react to the story of a man who is born old and gets younger as he grows up. Of all of the stories I have come across, this is by far the most bizarre and intriguing. If i had to pick someone to bring this story to the screen I do no think David Fincher would have been my first choice.
How wrong I would have been. This film is by far one of the best if not the best of 2008. Fincher's direction is flawless! The film from start to finish does not let up. There are moments of joy and ecstasy followed by sorrow and understanding. Brad Pitt stars as Benjamin, a boy born an old man who must live his life in reverse. His friend from childhood, Daisy, is played by Cate Blanchett. The story is narrated from Benjamin's point of view with some particular highlights from Daisy.
The cast does nothing wrong. Pitt leads with Blanchett and a strong performance from Taraji P. Henson as Benjamin's surrogate mother Queenie, the only person in the world who seems to understand and truly love him from the start. Other cameos along the way bring a large array of characters, including Tilda Swinton, one of Benjamin's early love interests.
The film spans from the end of World War I to the the arrival of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans. The transitions from life stage to life stage and decade to decade are seamless. Fincher does a tremendous job at maintaining a steady flow of action and dialogue. There is not a dull moment in the film. The cinematography is superb and couples nicely with Fincher's style of accentuating certain colors to enhance a mood or moment.
There really is nothing wrong with this film. Even with a runtime of about 160 minutes, time just flies by, much like it does for Benjamin, only we are going forward. This is a tender and meaningful film you do not want to wish.
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