Feb 182009
Authors: Marjorie Hamburger

The story of Benjamin Button is indeed a curious one, which fortunately has not been experienced by any other human being. When people say, “Time plays tricks on you,” I doubt any could fathom a trick of this magnitude.

Adapted from the 1921 short story by F. Scott Fitzgerald, “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” is about an odd individual born just after WWI as an elderly man in his 80s who spends his life growing younger instead of older. Benjamin’s (Brad Pitt) mother died in childbirth, and his father abandoned him on the doorstep of an elderly home. Queenie (Taraji P. Henson), who runs the home, takes him in and raises him as her own.

As an old man, Benjamin meets Daisy (Cate Blanchett), the granddaughter of a resident in the home. Daisy and Benjamin are, in reality, both only seven-years-old, although Benjamin is trapped in the body of an 80-year-old. From their first encounter, the two strike an immediate bond that drives the plot of the film.

The two split paths early on. Benjamin travels the world, eventually becoming a tugboat man, and Daisy transforms into a famous ballerina. They meet up several times along the way, but their timing is never quite right. That is until they are both physically the same age. Yet when Benjamin continues to become younger, and Daisy begins to age, their lives become a challenge once more.

From director David Fincher (“Fight Club,” “Zodiac”) and screenwriter Eric Roth (“Forrest Gump”) comes this fantasy tale that has an interesting basis, but ultimately lacks depth.

The story of Benjamin’s life is told as flashbacks from his diary that is read while Daisy is on her deathbed. This seems a phony, cheesy and cliché circumstance, especially since we never see Benjamin writing anything in the film’s entirety.

Benjamin is often thrown into historical events over the course of his life (much like Forrest Gump) that add no particular significance or depth to his character. Out of all the qualities a protagonist might contain, Benjamin really has no personality whatsoever and nothing to offer audiences. His entire life story seems naturally fit to dispatch some ounce of importance or annotation. Yet there is no revelation to be found in this obscure tale.

“Benjamin Button” is undoubtedly a pleasurable film to watch. Almost three hours of watching miraculous make-up artistry, beautiful art design and cinematography and the performances of Hollywood’s top-notch actors and actresses is enough to make any audience content. Though behind the eye candy, the film’s message is weak, if even there at all.

Staff writer Marjorie Hamburger can be reached at verve@collegian.com.

 Posted by at 5:00 pm

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