As Hurricane Katrina approaches the Gulf Coast, an elderly woman lies dying in a New Orleans hospital. Amongst her belongings is a diary, which she asks her daughter to read to her. And so unfolds The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. This movie is based on the short story written by F. Scott Fitzgerald in 1921.To update the film to the present, the filmmakers have taken many liberties with the story. In fact, other than the name of the story and the basic concept of a baby born with the body of an old man who ages backwards, not much remains of Fitzgerald’s story.
The film is actually quite amazing in its use of special effects. We watch Brad Pitt grow younger as everyone around him ages. Most of the film was shot in and around New Orleans, which lends an air of authenticity to the production. As an aged and infirm seven year old, Benjamin meets a young girl named Daisy (played as an adult by Cate Blanchett). Their love story is the crux of this movie. They meet a number of times throughout the years, but their timing is never right until their biological ages meet. They fall in love, have a child together, and then Benjamin must leave because he is growing too young.
The cinematography, the music, and the special effects make this an amazing movie. However, in adapting Fitzgerald’s short story to a two and a half hour movie extravaganza, something has been lost. And I think that it is a spareness that leaves much open to the imagination. The movie seems ponderous and self-important. But-it’s still worth seeing. It has been nominated for 13 Oscars, and is sure to win some. But do yourself a favor-read the story, too.