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December 27, 2008

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

Filed under: Random — Robert John Ed @ 6:58 pm

Saw The Curious Case of Benjamin Button yesterday and it was a good film.  It’s an adaptation of a Fitzgerald short story from the Jazz Age.  I’ve not yet read it, but am behest not to after viewing the movie, which I assume was a libertied interpretation.  I’ll revisit this.

What struck me most about the film is that it’s a great script.  It’s the story of a boy born an old man, who grows younger as he ages.  The story itself is too good for a book.  This is not to say that books are not great stories, they are.  It’s to say that film is told in a different language and even during the film I had a feeling that F. Scott wouldn’t have written this as such.  It’s too perfect, too scripted.  Despite the morose parallels to This Side of Paradise, it just didn’t feel right as a book.

As a movie, it is something good, but not quite great.  The cast performs exceptionally with an exception.  Brad Pitt is further proving to me an average actor with impeccable looks.  Which is a shame.  Give me an incredible actor and average looks in his stead.  He is clearly not the star of his generation, he’s merely the best looking.  Take this with a grain of salt, because he is a decent actor.  He is not a poor actor, not an average actor.  He is capable to an extent, but seems unable to express emotion nearly so well as his contemporaries.  I can’t help but feel this film could have been a triumph with the correct leading man, and maybe the part could have added depth with a less handsome but more endearing role.  This bothers me because I hate to see unrealized potential; and I should know as it haunts my mirrors daily.  The tendency of our generation to prop up average artistry due to good looks instead of real talent is frightening; the ongoing corrosion may some day be imperceptible to new youth.  Maybe it already is.

The flipside of the coin is Cate Blanchett, whom I adore to no end since her work in I’m Not There.  She convincingly stole that show with an uncanny semblance of an England bound Dylan and is enchanting here as Daisy,  a New York bound dancer with realized ambitions of stardom.  With little left than fifteen minutes left to the showing, I realized that this movie was about the women more so than Benjamin himself.  The important people surrounding Benjamin, but especially the women who raise and keep him.  Cate is something special and a great reason to watch this.  Once again, the cast was very good.  I don’t want to completely denigrate Pitt because he is not a bad actor but a decent one; in my esteem a benefactor of aesthetic adulation.

The story is pure.  Although Fitzgerald wrote it, it reminds of Frost and his ironically enduring poem:

Nature’s first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf’s a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
so dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.

See it.

benjamin-button

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2 Comments »

  1. I am planning on marrying Cate Blanchett and Tina Fey.

    Comment by Courts — January 13, 2009 @ 3:53 pm

  2. i was pleasantly surprised to find out that F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote the short story upon which Benjamin Button (the movie) was based, they mention this in the opening credits

    Comment by coffee — January 18, 2009 @ 5:43 pm


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