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The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button (DVD)
Member Name: Drewster_Rooster
The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button (DVD)
Date: 27/01/10, updated on 27/01/10 (52 review reads)
Advantages: well developed characters
Disadvantages: tries too hard
Film only review
When Benjamin Button is born he is 85 years old, his birth mother dies after the labour and his father unable to cope with the loss of his wife and what he considers to be a monster of a baby leaves the newborn on the steps of an old people's home with $18 tucked into the babies' blanket.
Queenie, a worker in the home discovers the baby and figuring the poor child has not long to live decides to take him in and pass him off as the son of her sister who is unable to deal with the child's illness. The residents of the home are thrilled with the new arrival and rally around, welcoming the child to their home and all help with looking after him.
As time passes it is clear to Queenie that the child is far from death and grows larger and although has the appearance of an old man has the attitude and outlook of that of a child. Wheelchair bound and frail Benjamin fits in well with the other residents but whilst they are all growing older Benjamin is getting younger every day.
Soon Benjamin is able to walk with sticks then over time without any assistance and one day is introduced to the granddaughter of one of the residents, Daisy. Immediately drawn to her because she is another child, the two of them get on well and Benjamin looks forward to the frequent visits that Daisy makes to her grandmother, and over time the pair forge a firm friendship.
Getting younger and fitter by the day Benjamin wants to experience life outside the old people's home and ventures into the world getting a taste of what is out there. He meets new people, gets a job, has his first sexual encounter and enjoys his first drink. We follow Benjamin through his life in reverse and watch him grow younger as the people around him grow older and die.
The running theme throughout the film is that of his relationship with Daisy and how the two of them start off as childhood friend and how their friendship matures over time. The story is told from the perspective of Benjamin through the diary he kept and Daisy now an old woman lying in a hospital bed is being read to by her daughter in what are probably her final hours.
At 2 ½ hours long the story is given plenty of time to develop and the characters are fully developed. You get to really know Benjamin and Daisy and their story is both romantic and touching, personally I thought that the strength of the film was that the characters were given enough time for us to understand them and you really do buy into their story.
Brad Pitt reminds me of Johnny Depp in a lot of ways, he does play quirky and 'different' characters well and this case is no exception. He gives an outstanding performance in this film and you do sympathise with his condition and feel for him when people around him die.
The character and story is very reminiscent of Forrest Gump though and this seems to be a common comparison that other people have commented on, the setting of the film being the deep south; Louisiana and the accent that Pitt has are very 'Forrestlike' and the feel of the film does have elements that seem to have been lifted from the film.
Cate Blanchett is reliable as ever and plays the grown up version of Daisy with style, she plays her part effortlessly and she is believable. The makeup effects that age her when she is lying in her hospital bed as an old lady are extremely well done and look genuine rather than prosthetics.
On the subject of makeup effects, the film did win the Oscar for best achievement in makeup and this was well deserved. Both Pitt and Blanchett when made up to be elderly are exceptionally authentic looking and even the 20 something looking Pitt looks freakily like he did when he was in his twenties even though his skin did look a little too smooth and line free.
Surprisingly, despite being nominated in all the major categories for the Oscars the film only ended up winning 3 for makeup, art direction and visual effects. I can't help but think that this is because the film tried *too* hard to chase awards, maybe it's just me being cynical but I felt that as the film reminded me of Forrest Gump and umpteen other major films that have swept the boards at the Oscars that this film tried to pinch elements from other films and wrapped them up into one.
That was my major let down overall with this film, I did enjoy it; the acting was superb, the effects excellent and the plot well developed but it just didn't go anywhere. You know from the start that ultimately Button is going to get so young that any relationships cannot possibly work longterm, being born at 85 he has a defined number of years available to him (assuming a fatal accident doesn't end his life prematurely- which being a Hollywood film you know it won't) so it's the middle years of his life that any 'action' can take place in (as he is too old when first born, too young as the years go on etc) and I can't help but feel that this is where the film is too contrived.
Despite that I did get lost in the story and the 2 ½ hours passed by quite nicely, I was glad for it to end though and can't say I would watch the film again given the opportunity. I was sent this film as part of my subscription package from LoveFilm but is available to buy new from Amazon for just under a fiver.
Personally I think its a film I would recommend maybe for a wet and cold Sunday afternoon where you can devote the time needed to get into the story and overall would give it 3/5 Dooyoo stars for all the reasons I have mentioned. An award-chasing film that tries, but maybe a little bit too hard.
Thanks for reading my review.
Summary: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button...