THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON, loosely based on a short story by F. Scott Fitzgerald, is by far the most ambitious cinematic undertaking this year. Brad Pitt stars as Benjamin Button, a man afflicted with a rare condition -- born in 1918 New Orleans with the physical attributes and disabilities of a very old man, his body ages in reverse while everyone else around him grows older the conventional way. Abandoned as a wrinkly E.T.-like baby at the steps of a, quite fittingly, home for the aged, he grows up under the care of a loving black woman named Queenie (Taraji P. Henson in an award-worthy performance). The film follows this simple everyday man (ignore the aging issue and the matinee idol looks) in his adventures learning about love and war, life and death. Take the annoying parts of FORREST GUMP out and sprinkle it with a hefty amount of TWILIGHT ZONE and you get BENJAMIN BUTTON. That's really about it.
BENJAMIN BUTTON is a film of magnificent contradictions. It is about life but is littered with deaths. It highlights simplicity and yet every frame is perfected with technical wizardry. It is a visually stunning film that, after almost three hours of complications, twists and turns, comes to its expected, imminent, and quiet conclusion. In the end, it's really about nothing. But it is a nothing that moves me deeply because it reflects my own experience -- my life should really be very simple but I make it much more complicated than it has to be.
The film boasts an accomplished acting job from its ensemble that includes Henson, Cate Blanchett and Tilda Swinton. But there is no denying that Brad Pitt makes this film look incredible with his subtle and understated acting. It doesn't hurt that the man looks gorgeous at any age! However, this may be a tough sell even for avid Brad Pitt fans. But those who connect to the story will find it truly amazing.
Note: The poster mock-up with Queenie and Baby Button was downloaded from www.slashfilm.com.