Monday, December 29, 2008

Benjamin Button

Yesterday I saw The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. I give it one and a half thumbs up. If you enjoy interesting stories ala Big Fish or Forrest Gump, or you enjoy contemplating life, or you enjoy great acting, or you enjoy Brad Pitt, then you should probably go see this movie.

Before I talk about the movie, however, I want to talk about the previews. They showed four previews before the movie, and I'm excited to report that for the first time ever, I was interested in all four movies! Three of them (Duplicity, New in Town and The Soloist) I will definitely see.

Now onto the review.

First of all, it was long. I can always judge how captivated I am by a movie by whether or not I wonder what time it is at any point. This movie is close to three hours and the pace of the story is slow, so I found myself wanting to check my watch two or three different times.

Also, the concept of the film takes a little getting used to. It's a little creepy to watch an old man acting like a child. When Benjamin meets Daisy for the first time, it feels like we're watching a 70 year old man hitting on a 12 year old girl. As I watched, I kept having to remind myself that he was a child and not a pedophile.

The other critique I have is this. There were several events in the story line that seem to have no other purpose than to lengthen the film. In my opinion, they didn't add any value to the story. For instance [spoiler alert], when he is about 30 years old Benjamin has an affair with a married woman. A good twenty minutes of the movie are spent detailing the affair, and then suddenly, it's over. It's never really referenced again, aside from a moment in a diner years later. I feel like the story would have been just as complete (and 20 minutes shorter) had that part just been left out completely. (If any of you see the movie and can help me understand the significance of this part, please enlighten me!)

However, these critiques aside, by far the best part about the movie was the acting - it was FANTASTIC. Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett are phenomenal. I knew going into the movie that I liked both of those actors, but they were able to pull off these characters in a way that far exceeded my expectations.

There's one other the thing I noticed about the movie. The hands. The progression of the closeup shots of each character's hands throughout the movie seems to parallel the aging process that each character experiences. I first noticed it when Benjamin learns to play the piano. Later, someone asks if his arthritic hands are painful. As he ages throughout the movie, his hands look younger. If I were writing a critical analysis of this movie for a college course, I think that's what I'd write about. If you haven't seen the movie yet, watch the series of hand shots. It's very interesting.

In summary, I recommend this movie. (Except to Carolyn because she and I never agree on movies so she'd probably hate it.)

7 comments:

Seth Ward said...

Great review! Totally agree. I also thought about Big Fish, but I think Big Fish is a better movie. (With the exception of the winking CGI fish at the end.) I think Big Fish was one of the most underrated movies of the past 10 years or so. I totally cried in that one. However, it is a real tear-jerker for a father-son, wife husband tale.

I didn't mind the married woman part so much... I actually think they could have axed half the hospital scenes and then some of the India stuff and I would have been just fine.

Carolyn said...

WHAT? I'm so hurt. It's the books we don't share similar tastes. :-) I was considering seeing the movie but I think I'll pass. I'd probably get bored. Probably go see Marley and Me or Seven Pounds.

Becky said...

I was thinking of when I recommended Garden State to you. :)

However, I would TOTALLY go see Marley and Me with you. I can't wait for that one.

Becky said...

And Seth, I agree, they should have axed the hospital scenes. BORING.

.: theChris :. said...

I definitely want to see it. Might go this weekend. Good review, Sister.

Also, speaking of movies, Marley and Me was GREAT. I've never read the book, but the movie was awesome. And not just because my man Owen is in it. Actually, if I'm honest, Jennifer Aniston really sold her role. If you don't dry watching her cry then something's wrong with you. My only complaint is that the dog they picked to play the really old Marly, looks nothing like the younger version. But that's just me.

Relatedly, we saw 'Yes Man' last night ... typical Jim Carey: Hilarious, fun-lovin' stuff. The wife and I both thought Zooey Desanchel did a great job, and I loved Norm, the boss (Rhys Darby, known mainly as Murray on Flight of the Conchords).

Oh, and one more thing, we too saw a couple trailers for movies that look good: I Love You, Man and He's Just Not All That Into You

GRegg Mac said...

Well, it didn't take long for me to see the common line between Benjamin and Forrest Gump.
The final straw of "Screen Play THeft" came when he was on stage, I was waiting to hear "Walk Benjamin walk", the same way that the younger girl in Gump yelled, "Run FOrrest run".
And I agree, it did run longer than it should have.
And I found it hard to suspend reality as I watched him get younger and younger.
But I did enjoy it.

coffeerama said...

Benjamin Button was very Fincher-esque... almost as good as his other stuff if not for some nagging plot holes