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Benjamin Button

PG-13

Brad Pitt, Cate Blanchett

Daisy: Will you still love me when my skin is old and saggy?
Benjamin: Will you still love me when I have acne, wet the bed and am afraid of what’s under the stairs?

Benjamin (Pitt) is born with a strange affliction of being the size of a baby, but the age of a very old man.  His mother dies giving birth, and his father, frightened by Benjamin’s appearance, leaves him on the steps of a nursing home where he is raised by Queenie, who works there.  Benjamin grows in size to a normal adult, but also becomes younger and younger along the way.  This poses several problems, but most obviously it makes it difficult for him to be with the love of his life, Daisy (Blanchett).

I went into this movie expecting to love it and really be moved by it.  I’ve always been a David Fincher fan, and I like the actors involved.  So it was a little disappointing to find myself about 3/4 of the way through it thinking that, while it was good, it just seemed to have no real heart to it.  The cinematography was amazing, and the special effects to make Pitt (and the other actors) look older and younger were incredible.  But up until about the last half hour of the movie, I just didn’t feel any emotional connection to the characters or the story.

I thought Benjamin was actually a little bit dull as a character, and Daisy in her 20s just wasn’t very likeable at all.  It was as though the movie was so concerned with telling its story, it forgot to stop and smell the roses every now and then.  A few moments of joy – and appreciation of joy – here and there wouldn’t have hurt.

The whole thing felt like a mash-up of Big Fish and Forrest Gump.  I had the same reaction to Big Fish as I did to this movie.  I liked both, but neither affected me as much as they seemed like they should.  That could be due to subject matter, though.  Some people cried like a baby watching Big Fish, and I’m sure plenty did for the entirety of this movie.  I just wasn’t one of them.

I will say, though, that the last half hour or so was quite moving.  You know where the story is headed, as do the characters, and that adds to the heartbreaking nature of the movie.  I wish there had been more of that emotion and purpose throughout.

10 – 3 for characters I didn’t care much about until the end + .8 for really good special effects – .5 for boring musical score = 7.3