MONKEY REVIEW: The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button

December 29, 2008

David Fincher’s The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button, loosely adapted from a short story by F. Scott Fitzgerald about a man who is born with an aged body and proceeds to get younger as the years pass, easily jumped in the ranks of my favorite movies this year, almost from the beginning moments, filled as they are with charm, wonder and sadness. Those moments set the tone for the rest of the film, which, at 165 minutes, is a long haul, but never feels overlong. It may well be that Benjamin Button, played by Brad Pitt in a beautifully modulated performance, is a simple tale elaborately told, as Fincher is one of the most unique cinematic stylists working today, though when the beautiful closing image fades, this hardly seems like a criticism. Part of the reason I enjoyed the movie so much was not because it has anything profound to say about aging, loss and death, but because it doesn’t strain to do so. It nevertheless makes simple, but affecting points about the inevitability of both loss and recovery, and the joys of finding the things that make you happy, and finding ways to incorporate those things into your everyday life. Pitt is supported by an impressive supporting cast, including Cate Blanchett, who is simply luminous as his lifelong love. The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button isn’t perfect by any means, as it loses some narrative momentum in its third act and is guilty of occasionally meandering, but in general, this is a gorgeously made, richly entertaining film.


(For a brief explanation of the Monkey Review rating system, click here.)


3 Responses to “MONKEY REVIEW: The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button”

  1. Hey, Darren, this currently second on my list of movies I must see in the theater. (First is Milk.) Have you read the short story? I love it. F. Scott at his most Gogol-ish. Or Kafkaesque. Which at least sounds more like a real world.

    Not suprised that there’s a lifelong romance in the movie, but in the book Benjamin pretty quickly becomes disgusted by his aging wife, as he’s getting young & strapping!

    Have I mentioned that I love this blog of yours, btw? Great job! I am woefully behind the times musically and always wishing for a catch-up strategy. So I’m trying to visit often. I have a few friends who would like it here, so I’m going to share it with them and/or post a link on my blog.

  2. radiondn Says:

    Thanks for the link, first of all.

    I did read the story, I think for the first time when I was right out of high school, and The Great Gatsby was still my favorite book of all time. The final paragraph is really haunting. The movie is a very loose adaptation, but I still enjoyed it quite a lot, and I think it’s worth seeing on a big screen.

    I haven’t seen Milk yet, or Slumdog Millionaire, as far as that goes, but neither of them have opened anywhere near me yet. A tragic situation, I know.

  3. coffee Says:

    i was pleasantly surprised to find out that Scott Fitzgerald wrote the short story upon which Benjamin Button (the movie) was based

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