“Our lives are defined by opportunities, even the ones we miss.”
Tonight Kelly, who is well-connected and fabulous, took me to see an advanced screening of The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. The plot of the adapted F. Scott Fitzgerald story is simple: Benjamin (Brad Pitt) is born backwards. While life moves on and people age, Benjamin comes into the world an old man and grows younger with time.
Full disclosure: I cry at the end of all movies. I mean, cried at the of Wayne’s World 2. So it was more than appropriate that I began crying at the beginning of Benjamin Button straight through to the end, though I might add there were plenty of lightening bolt giggles.
Benjamin Button was adapted into a sprawling epic by Eric Roth, who is most known and loved for Forrest Gump. And there are definite similarities: the misfit boy in arm braces, the wise and doting mama, the drunken sea captain, the southern drawl, the sweeping depths of love, and the journey from the glossed over past to present through the eyes of the passive title character. And like Forrest before him, it is not what Benjamin does to time, rather, what time does to Benjamin.
But what could have been another, schmaltzy Gump saga is coaxed into a technically sophisticated, masterful work of brilliance by director David Fincher. The acting is, for the most part, restrained, yet it is through the continuously aging eyes of Brad Pitt and the extraordinarily breathtaking Cate Blanchett that the audience not only believes the Curious Case of Benjamin Button, but empathizes with it, yearns for it.
A man aging backwards is science fiction, but straining to hold onto love, or the opportunity for it, is the raw rotten truth. Where a less experienced director (Charlie Kaufman and his baby, Synecdoche, New York, comes to mind) loses control over a narrative that covers the same topics of time, mortality, isolation, and love, Fincher’s Curious Case of Benjamin Button proves to be a masterpiece of majestic proportions.
“I was thinking how nothing lasts, and what a shame that is.”
“…Some things last.”