Posted: 12/30/2008

 

THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON

by Rick Villalobos




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There is something about a good film that makes even the most restless of people forget where or who they are – at least for a brief moment. We escape and become in a strange way a part of the story that is on screen. Unfortunately, a good film does not come about everyday. A film starts from the moment the first word appears on the blank page and it is not until we see it in the theater that we experience its magic. We all may experience that magic differently, but we leave like different people because of it.

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button is a film about a child born with an unusual disease – extreme old age. A young woman named Dorothy Baker (Faune A. Chambers), a caretaker of a nursing home, adopts the young child and names him Benjamin. Given minimal chance to live, Benjamin (Brad Pitt) grows up, taking on the appearance of an old man instead of a young boy. Surprisingly, he continues to grow and outlives all of the nursing home residents. Benjamin soon discovers he is growing younger and doing things that he dreamed of when he was an older man.

Screen writer Eric Roth is a genius. Brad Pitt’s performance is brilliant and unexpected. Director David Fincher (Fight Club) should be oozing with pride. Adapted from a short story written by F. Scott Fitzgerald, Benjamin Button is a film with a special message –something from one of life’s bag of lessons that we all have to learn sooner or later. What is it? Well, you are going to have to see it to find out. Beautifully shot and well acted, this film will be a contender for best picture of the year.

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button has a lot in common with another film – Forest Gump, but do not be discouraged, Benjamin Button is nothing like that film. It has its own soul with its own story to tell. Eric Roth wrote both screen plays, which means that he knows what he is doing. He can write a great story and a great tearjerker that will make you think.

Some words of advice – it is a long film so try not to have the large soda – better yet, keep off of liquids until the film is over. Believe me – you don’t want to miss a single frame. I have a feeling that you will be tested on what you have learned soon enough.

Rick Villalobos is a writer and film critic in Chicago.



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