The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

I wonder if movie critics have to guard against their own  sentimentalities.  I’m guessing they do.  I know I would, chief among them being movies that are epic in scope and that encapsulate lifetimes within them.  I am predisposed to like such films, more so if their time frames happen to span the 1940’s.  The Curious Case of Benjamin Button is just such a movie, and like Forrest Gump and The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp, it encapsulates the complete story of the titular character, played in this case by Brad Pitt, who, like Sean Penn, pleasantly surprises now and again by doing something a little more arty.  All three movies begin at or near the ending and tell the story primarily through the use of flashbacks.  However, Benjamin Button and Forrest Gump are not character studies the way Blimp is. We do not so much follow an internal change that occurs within them as we simply bear witness to their lives as objects shaped and buffeted by the indifferent forces of time and history.  Unlike Gump, however, Benjamin Button offers very little in the way of comic relief.  It is more melancholy and complicated, and while both realize the fulfillment of the title characters through the attainment and loss of the great loves of their lives, Forrest in the end has little Forrest.  Daisy and Caroline, on the other hand, have only bittersweet memories, and Benjamin, less than that.  

In summary, I would say that The Curious Case of Benjamin Button is interesting, which is to say it has much to recommend it, including great performances from Pitt, Cate Blanchett, and Tilda Swinton.



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