Reviews: The Curious Caseof Benjamin Button
The Curious Case of Benjamin Boring
Having only seen this film in full yesterday, I think I'm a bit late to be offering a commentary on this that hasn't already been succinctly made by the previous reviewer. BB tells the story of a person aging backwards. He starts off as a baby sized Septugenarian, and gets younger as he increases in size. I was hoping that we'd end up with a six foot tall baby Brad Pitt by the end of the movie, but it sadly fails to deliver. The age thing doesn't really impact the story as much as it should (no one gives more than a "huh!" when they realise he's getting younger), and besides this quirk, all we have is a fairly mundane life story of a milquetoast kind of guy, wandering through the 20th Century. At its most basic, a story is about a person wanting something, and trying to overcome an obstacle to get it. Throughout the tremendously long run time of Benjamin Button, I had no idea what Mr. B wanted, or what was stopping him getting anything. Instead, we watch a relationship blossom between him and normally aging Cate Blanchett's character. Here are two decent actors, given two very uninteresting roles, all the while caked in varying layers of unconvincing old person make up (why no movie has figured out how to do old people make up yet, or better yet, learnt to just use older actors is beyond me). There is nothing compelling about either of these people. At one point, towards the end of the movie, there is actually almost a hint of an interesting story. As a young teenager, Button is suffering from Alzheimer's and is gradually forgetting his past lifetime with the woman he loves. Wow. There is an actual obstacle - and one that the audience could actually relate to, threatening a relationship between two people who just want to stay together. Shame it appears only ten minutes before the ending. BB is a mawkish, twee, overly long and desperately uninteresting film. Just don't bother.
Why was this nominated for an Oscar?
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button frankly bored me to tears. It established this character, who had the quirk of being old when he was born and aging backwards. And then...nothing. There is absolutely zero conflict or tension that results from this scenario, and we get the happy life's story of two wooden planks. Story is born from conflict, and there was no conflict here. Button travels to Europe and romances a beautiful woman, comes back home to New Orleans and romances another beautiful woman, gets given something that means he does not have to worry about finances for the rest of his life...and that's it. No conflict, no tension, no humor, nothing. There was no story to tell here, nothing interesting that came from this man aging backwards. Instead he got a dream life that anyone would hope for, with the minor inconvenience of having a rather odd physique when he was younger. People pushed it as the next Forrest Gump, but the character was nowhere near as endearing as Tom Hanks' Gump (and I say this with respect for Brad Pitt as an actor), nor did it have the humorous jokes and references that made Forrest Gump such a classic. The only redeeming feature of the movie was the slapstick scenes of a man getting struck by lightning seven times.