Review: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button


Sure, it’s overlong and slightly boring, but it looks pretty.  David Fincher’s The Curious Case of Benjamin Button is the first time Fincher truly disappointed me. 

A week after taking in the flick, there’s two sticking points I can’t get over. 

The first is that Brad Pitt’s Benjamin Button is essentially a blank slate.  He meanders through his life, but he never does anything.  I suspect the creative talent involved wanted to say something about dealing with life’s regrets.  That is, most people always ruminate over the things they should’ve done or could’ve done or wished had turned out differently. 

Given that Ben Button physically ages in reverse, but mentally ages like a normal human by the time he is physically at his peak, 18-25, he would mentally have the wisdom of a 65 year old and thus, be able to do things differently as a young pup.  But this doesn’t happen. Rather, Button gets Alzheimer’s and twaddles his way to an inglorious death. 

This also brings up my second complaint.  When we first see Ben Button he is born as an old man baby.  Mentally he is an infant and that develops like any human.  However, physically he is born the size of a baby but old.  Theoretically, as he ages in reverse (old to young) his body would develop physiologically like a normal human (small to big).  Since humans don’t develop small –> full size –> small again, there is no reason that Benjamin Button would turn back into a baby at the conclusion of the movie. 

It stands then, that at the end of his life he would be a six-foot man baby.  He would develop baby chunk and lose his hair, poop himself, have a reddish complexion, etc. but his body would still be man-sized. 

And this is the biggest problem with the movie.  I can suspend disbelief about a baby being born with an old body and aging in reverse, but what I can’t get behind are filmmakers that didn’t do the necessary homework. 

Also?  Imagine Brad Pitt as a six-foot man baby, wrapped in swaddled cloth.  It’s a humorous image.   

Still, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button is the worst kind of “serious” movie.  It tricks you into thinking this is an important work, saying something “important” about the human condition.  Except, it doesn’t. 

It’s a movie best summed up by Brad Pitt’s narration: “I was born under curious circumstance.  You see I was born an old man.”  And then I lived my boring life, doing little to affect the outcome of my life and then I died.  They could have told this story in about half the time.

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  • Esther February 5, 2011, 6:05 pm

    I disagree with this review on many points. This movie inspired me, I realize that there is a disease called "Progeria" where babies are born looking like old people as well as body function limitations. However I do feel, David Fincher, Eric Roth and Brad Pitt, did a excellent job of producting a movie that gets you to think about how most people don't take the time to value what life has to offer, especially when were young, until we get too old to really enjoy life, and then it's almost too late. I'm 57 years old and I can see the many lessons of life that this movie had to offer. I also showed the this movie to my children 25 and 28 years old, who both said that enjoyed the movie too and they learned about love, living, and life and didn't feel this movie was boring.
    What I will agree with Mr. Furbush's comments are: that if the movie had of showed the part of Benijamin getting younger more mentally than in a physical sense it would been more realistic.
    If I had to rate this movie, I would rate it a 4 star (out of 5 being the best). I really enjoyed it, and the message that it gave.