So many great films have been made and to see some reviews call this one of the greatest of all time makes me think the reviewer is limited in what they've watched in their life.
Bejamin Button is an excellent film and in time should become a classic. One of the greatest films of all time though I suppose is a matter of opinion. I can say that I've viewed it three times this past week and find it a film with few flaws. But life isn't perfect and to expect a movie to be perfect is daft.
The story is all centered around the death of an elderly woman named Daisy while her daughter Caroline reads the diary of Benjamin, the love of her mother's life. If having Daisy on her deathbed in a hospital room isn't enough to keep the atmosphere of these scenes dramatic the present day story is set in New Orleans as Hurricane Katrina is approaching land. Some heavy stuff here.
As Caroline begins to read aloud her voice is replaced with that of Benjamin Button who tells the story of his life, a very normal life except for two things. The first is he was born old and ages in reverse, becoming younger as everyone around him ages and dies. And the second thing which makes his life extroadinary is the relationships he has throughout it, most importantly the life long one he has with Daisy.
The story is very good, if you tell me it's stupid that he ages backwards or an old man and a young girl aren't gonna develope a friendship, well you're out to lunch and missing the point. Any flaws in the story are so minor they can be forgiven, if you even notice them. The love story between Daisy and Benjamin is well done and portrayed. No relationship is easy and with Benjamin's reverse aging the difficulty is increased. Also it shows what I believe is important, that even when two people love each other and want to be together, some times it isn't enough to make it work out happily ever after. Thus in both of Benjamin's relationships it is shown that it is better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all. I've read it is drastically different than the short story by F. Scott Fitzgerald but retains a few key elements. I guess I'd have to read the story to see the differences, and so I shall one day.
The special effects are very good, for me they blend in almost seamlessly with the film. I quite like some of the flashback scenes, especially the more comical struck by lightening ones. Also the last time I watched it for some reason there was no colour.... the movie I think is even better all in b/w But I like old movies.
The acting is all excellent, Brad turns in another performance further cementing him as a living legend of cinema. Haha maybe thats overdoing it a little but not much, the films he's done speak for themselves, critically and commercially. Maybe not his best or most powerful but with the aging process and the characters unusal upbringing I felt as if Brad knew that Benjamin (or maybe the director knew) that having started life physically old and growing up with old people would be a mellow almost zen like figure. I don't beleive you ever see Benjamin get mad, a little upset by his father but is wise enough to let it go.
Cate also delivers a first class performance, looking gorgeous while she does it. She also seems to know her character well, and wouldn't it be hard loving someone, who although mentally your age is physically much much older. She is the first who though truly gets past the age and wants things to get sexual.
Some will wonder why Benjamin didn't accept Daisy's first offer of sex, why he almost got angry with her for pushing the issue. He had that insight, from his unique upbringing that the time wasn't right, he cared for her too much and wasn't going to ruin her youth, which she did go on to enjoy, both with her dancing and free spirit lifestyle. He knew his physical age (appearance wise) would interfere with her life. However just a few years later, looking even younger he sought her out and found she was a little too wild and free spirited for him to handle, thus proving his insticts right in the first place.
And all the other performances sparkled, not a single one was phoned in on this film.
So the story, acting, FX's were all very good. What was it I disliked about the film? Not much really. I don't know, I guess I will have to agree with one review I skimmed over which said it was sanitized. For a film which depicts an entire life, a couple of lives and deals a lot with life and death the film never gets its hands dirty. Now I will admit I don't even know what I mean by that. The closest it came was when Benjamin said that death didn't seem natural at sea, at war. Oh and a little bit at the start where Mr. Cake the clockmaker says he made his clock so that the men in the war might come back, while we see soldiers fighting in reverse and the scene of him at the station sending his son to war also in reverse. Somehow the clock was tied to Benjamin Button and his aging in reverse, although I can see no clear connection.
So I can't write anything bad about the film. Wish I had seen it in theater but ... no bunny to go see it with. Criterion Collection however is probably better, still no bunny.
An overall great film which deserves more than one viewing.