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247 of 282 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A gorgeous, but depressing drama. Mild Spoilers
The Curious Case of Benjamim Button is by no means a feel-good movie. In fact upon watching it, I felt depressed even the next day just thinking about it. People may confuse this for a love story but to me the film clearly symbolizes death. The love aspect is certainly present, though it is not the center of attention here.

Brad Pitt stars as Benjamin Button, a...
Published on March 19, 2009 by Valerya Couto

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33 of 42 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Life Less Ordinary
This is, while a technically brilliant piece of filmmaking that fully exploits all the wizardry of CGI and makeup of which the filmmaker's art is now capable, strangely hollow at the center. One begins the movie expecting some profound truths about human existence to be explored, but it ends not with a big life-affirming bang, but more of a whimper, quite literally...
Published on June 15, 2009 by Hikari


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246 of 281 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A gorgeous, but depressing drama. Mild Spoilers, March 19, 2009
The Curious Case of Benjamim Button is by no means a feel-good movie. In fact upon watching it, I felt depressed even the next day just thinking about it. People may confuse this for a love story but to me the film clearly symbolizes death. The love aspect is certainly present, though it is not the center of attention here.

Brad Pitt stars as Benjamin Button, a man who essentially ages backwards. When he is born, his own father attempts to drown him before a sudden change of heart has him leaving the swaddled and very whithered newborn upon the steps of an elderly home. There he is found by Queenie, played to motherly perfection by Taraji P. Henson. She sees past the deformity and oddity and loves him immediately.

Instead of dying, as a doctor predicted, Benjamin actually begins to age backwards. He appears as a very old man and slowly grows younger, but only in body. His mind seems to function as a typical human's mind. He learns, and dreams and experiences. This basically sets up the magnificent story and from then on, you are taken from country to country, from one decade, to another and it is just superb to witness.

The acting is fantastic all around. Brad Pitt does an outstanding job, portraying both the old Benjamin as well as his younger counterpart. Cate Blanchett as his childhood friend/love interest is also a joy to watch. She can do no wrong, she is simply stunning. For such a short part, Tilda Swinton surely makes the most of it. Her tale and part with Benjamin in Russia is just stunning. There is also the talented Julia Ormond, who has a bigger part to play in the tale than we may realise at first.

The most impressive aspect of the film is the flawless visual effects. Just flawless. You have never seen aging/deaging done like this. There is a scene, towards the end, with Benjamin and Daisy (Blanchett) that had my jaw dropping. It was like looking back in time. I can't describe how utterly impressed I was. The cinematography, the sad musical score, the costumes, just every little minute detail is just so impressive and authentic.

I have heard grumbles from people who compare it to Forrest Gump. What? How? There should not be any comparing the two films-or the two characters. Gump was a slow and mostly ignorant person who fell into unbelievable situations. Button clearly chooses his own paths, though it may not seem it, at the beginning. It irritates me how someone can make such a comparison.

This is a long film, nearly three hours, though with the plot and subject matter, it makes sense and really, it is such a beautiful film, you hardly notice the passing of time. Like I mentioned, it will leave you feeling blue but that does not diminish from the fact this is one of the better newer films out there now, and one that people will remember in the future.
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48 of 60 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant Adaptation of Fitzgerald's Short Story, March 24, 2009
By 
"The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" is a wonderfully staged fantasy based on F. Scott Fitzgerald's fantasy about a boy born old and aging younger instead of older. The story could obviously be off-putting and distracting, but everyone involved does such a magnificent job of telling this story that it is not hard to accept this as fact, and following the story as it shows Benjamin growing younger and falling in love with a young girl named Daisy.

Benjamin and Daisy's story and the balance of Benjamin's life impart so many valuable life lessons that it is hard to recount them all - the idea that life brings many hardships and the best we can do is doing the best we can with what we're given, making the most of every moment because life is fleeting and unpredictable, find the joy and happinessin life and hold on to it dearly, and many other lessons.

"Benjamin Button" gives Brad Pitt the chance to shine in the title role, and he makes the most of it. He is ably assisted by Cate Blanchett as Daisy, Taraji P. Henson as Benjamin's adoptive mother, Tilda Swinton as another love of Benjamin's, and many others. This film is marvelous and a hopeful fable for all of us.
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33 of 42 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Life Less Ordinary, June 15, 2009
This is, while a technically brilliant piece of filmmaking that fully exploits all the wizardry of CGI and makeup of which the filmmaker's art is now capable, strangely hollow at the center. One begins the movie expecting some profound truths about human existence to be explored, but it ends not with a big life-affirming bang, but more of a whimper, quite literally. Benjamin says though his diary at one point: "Life is defined by opportunities--even the ones we miss." And that could be a sum-up of this film project as a whole, as well as the life of the bizarre hero at its center. One gets the sense of promise grasped for here but not quite realized as the technical and stylistic gymnastics of this movie overwhelm the fragile love story that should be its beating heart.

The film opens with Mr. Gateau (Cake) constructing a magical clock that runs backwards and mounting it in a train station in New Orleans in honor of his son, dead in the Great War. No mention is made again of Mr. Gateau or whether his clock was successful in rewinding time to bring dead boys back to life. It does have a curious effect on the life of one boy, though, as Benjamin enters the world essentially running backwards. As other reviewers have pointed out, it's quizzical that the clock has this metaphysical effect on only Benjamin among all the other children born afterwards, but then, fantasy is not required to operate by the rules of logic. Perhaps Benjamin, with a Gullah mother was particularly susceptible to magic, and how serendipitous that old-man baby Benjamin's grieving father abandoned him, along with $18 on the steps of an old-folks home, rather than say, a brothel . . .this being New Orleans, after all. What are the chances, outside the realm of fantastical fiction, furthermore that Benjamin's progenitor be named Mr. Button, and that he own a button factory? Otherwise we wouldn't have such nifty alliteration.

Countless comparisons have been made to "Forrest Gump", with which this narrative does share structural similarities. However, that didn't occur to me while I was watching and found instead resonance with one of Pitt's earlier characters, Tristan Ludlow from "Legends of the Fall"--like Benjamin, Tristan is a soul set apart, blessed or cursed with mystical powers he does not fully understand; uncomfortable among other people and destined to lose the true love of his life due to his own inability to live a normal life. Scenes of Benjamin travelling to foreign shores and sailing a boat underscored this impression. (The presence of Julia Ormond, here playing the adult daughter of the aged Daisy was just a bonus, since she and Pitt have no scenes together.) The setting of New Orleans during Benjamin's childhood in the early decades of the last century also reminded me of Louis Malle's "Pretty Baby".

This film is technically dazzling, but I think it was justly deprived of the top acting awards. With so much else to be distracted by, the acting had a job of it to even be noticed, really. Cate Blanchett is luminous, as usual. I had my doubts a 38-year-old mother of three could pull off a 23-year-old ballerina, but La Blanchett can do anything. The greatest curiosity I had, to be honest, was in how they were going to make Brad Pitt look 18 again. Brad has taken pretty good care of his body over the years, but the strain of being father to the United Tribe of Benetton is starting to show . . .at least when he's not on a movie set. When he's lit and coiffed for a film, he does not look anything like a 46-year-old father of six. He can easily pass for a decade younger . . .but I thought 18 would be pushing it. Well . . . did I say that the makeup department is amazing?? Looking at the scene of an 18-year-old Benjamin coming to visit the now-58-year-old Daisy--wow. It was like having a flashback to Mr. Pitt's debut in "Thelma & Louise", and it was a very unsettling feeling. "Unsettling" is the best descriptor for this movie. Parts of it were stunning to look at, but its tragic meditations on the ultimate inablity of love to bring any meaning to human life leaves you wrung out and uncertain whether you are better off having seen it than you were before.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An interesting movie, but disappointing in some respects., June 12, 2009
By 
Amazon Customer (Norfolk, Virginia United States) - See all my reviews
Visually, this is one of the most beautiful films I have ever seen. Every period in the film, from the roaring '20s of Benjamin's earliest years, to the 1960s when he lived briefly with the girl of his dreams, are captured almost perfectly onscreen. The cinematography is practically flawless. The film is so wonderfully atmospheric it's almost worth watching for that alone. The special effects are remarkable as well. At different points in the film, both Cate Blanchett and Brad Pitt are made to look roughly twenty years younger than their actual ages. This is relatively new in film. It's been possible since the medium began to age actors with makeup, but now it's also possible to de-age them through the magic of CGI. So where it would once have only been possible to make this film using very young actors to play the leads, and use make up to age them into their 40s and 50s and beyond, they can now cast established stars in their 40s and still have them convincingly play characters just out of their teens. The technical wizardry behind this is amazing, and it's yet another example of the magic of the movies.

So on technical merits alone I'd give the film 5 out of 5 stars. Unfortunately, the story does not quite live up to that high standard. It's not bad, to be sure; I did enjoy the movie, but I couldn't help wonder, at the end of it all, what the point was. As the reviewer for the Sunday Times aptly put it: "It's a gimmick that goes on for nearly three hours." Now I don't think every story has to have a moral, or a great message, or all kinds of weighty allusions and themes, and so forth. But simple, escapist entertainment just works better as a comedy or an action piece. A moody, character-driven drama, one can't help but feel, ought to have a little more to say. This movie, enjoyable as it is, seems like nothing more than an exercise in "what if" thinking -- what if a man could age backward? What would that be like? Storywise, the film seems to have nothing to offer beyond that, and one really doesn't need a 2 1/2 hour film to spell out all the sorrowful ramifications of such a scenario.

Still, the film is good for an evening's entertainment, and is a feast for the eyes. Cate Blanchett is nearly always worth watching, and Pitt gives a very good performance as well.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another Excellent Release from Criterion, March 31, 2012
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This review is from: The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
Movie: Full of excellent performances, this story is complex, yet simply and clearly told. The pacing is perfect, and the already excellent script is brought to life beautifully by director David Fincher. 10/10.

Video: Criterion is known for stunning, true-to-filmmaker-intent video transfers, and this is no exception. Shot digitally, this movie shows none of that artificial digital flatness, and feature perfect contrast and outstanding color reproduction. The whole thing is razor-sharp, but naturally so, giving an incredibly lifelike image. 10/10.

Audio: The sound design, like that of all David Fincher films, is incredible, and this DTS-HD MA 5.1 track (I don't know why the cover says "Dolby Digital 5.1," but rest assured it is actually a DTS-HD Master Audio track) reproduces it wonderfully. The sound here is clear and enveloping, with perfect LFE output and surround activity. Dialogue and music are well-prioritized. 10/10.

Special Features: Criterion and David Fincher are both known for providing a wealth of special feature on their releases, and so it is no surprise that release features just that. A massive ammount of special features, all of which are informative and interesting. 10/10.

Overall: Yeah. Perfect. 10/10.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best Movie, July 6, 2011
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This is the best movie I have seen in a while, I had always wondered how it turned out in the end, if he goes to being a baby or not and my question was answered. Really great movie, good for a movie night with friends as well.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Incredible SFX!, September 18, 2012
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This review is from: The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
This movie was wonderfully done. They recreated points in history that looked amazing. The special effects of reverse aging looked incredible, to the point where you almost wanted to skip ahead just to see how it would turn out. The acting is phenomenal and the story sucks you right in. This was a tremendous film and definitely worth owning. Needless to say, Criterion always treats their films well. It costs a little extra, but it's always worth it.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Falls off the tightrope, January 3, 2010
This shows the narrow line between success and failure in drama. The same writer had a mammoth hit with Forrest Gump. Despite some critical mauling the paying public loved it because the viewer cares about the three major characters right from the start.

In Button you have exactly the same three major characters of a man, his mother and his 'girl'.But the viewer never comes to care about the characters. I did not find the film too long - far from it , I was waiting for some of the relationships to be filled out. I was quite happy with the whole idea of a life lived backwards; that is quite an original idea but the writer and director seemed to think that the idea would be enough for us. They seemed to be saying "This is a large scale Hollywood film - we have thrown money, special effects and lots of make-up at this film. Enjoy!".

The weakest part in the film relates to Button's adoptive mother. She simply disappears onto the cutting room floor along with almost all of the part of her real daughter, Button's sister.What was that all about?

Kate Blanchett plays the life out of Button's love but we do not understand her fascination for him and early in the film this is very creepy.It is quite inconceivable that her daughter would not have been told all about her bizarre father repeatedly through her life, rather than finding out the truth at her mother's death bed. Scenes to which Hurricane Katrina has been added for no reason whatsoever.

Brad Pitt plays Button with great reserve. Worked for Hanks in 'Gump', leaves us cold here. The narrow line between success and failure is defined by the plot and script.We are asked to believe that Button abandons the love of his life so she will not see him 'grow young'. Not anyone's idea of true love. The episodes in Button's life; the endless tugboat scenes, the pointless Tilda Swinton scenes in Russia are never remotely engaging. Maybe Roth thought that the post Vietnam war Shrimp Boat scenes in Gump could be replicated. Mentioning Vietnam reminds me that the success of Gump was in getting the audience to come to terms with American history over 40 years from the 1950s. Button takes a similar broad brush to the history of the world from 1917 to the 1960s but this history is never connected to the story and sometimes the settings look decidedly wrong. Did New Orleans really have happy race relations between the 2 World Wars??

So, sorry Oscars, this is a bit of a clunker. Why not try a Director's Cut;see if we can get involved a bit...
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars touched to tears, February 10, 2012
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I watched this movie, I was watching Yes man with my girlfriend, and in the movie I saw the trailer for The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.
I must say that this video touched me in a deep way. It was a very well done movie, it had a very heavy story to it. The thing about Benjamin is that his life is turned upside down, he starts with being old and then get younger and younger. I like the character of the video. It made me think as well. It made me think about my loved ones, how fast life goes by. Suddenly you are there in your death bed and you have lived your life.
The video got me inspired me, I am now attending a school of supernatural ministry in Redding CA, I watched the movie on my coach. I really enjoyed watching how the truth came out during the video and that life is full of surprises.

I will highly recommend this video to anyone who wants to watch it, this movie will make you think.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting... 3.5 stars, August 5, 2009
Brad Pitt plays Benjamin Button, a man born old who ages backwards as the years pass, so that when he dies, he's an infant. Cate Blanchett is his love interest but there didn't seem to be much chemistry between the two. I also didn't like her character - she seemed too self-absorbed. I guess I thought this would be along the lines of Forest Gump, showing historical events that coincided with Button's life, and it does this only in a minor way. Pitt does a good job with the role and his narrative adds dimension. Tilda Swinton is fabulous and carries this movie. The ending is, of course, a sad one, so beware.
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The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray]
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