The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008) – Film Review
by Matt Callard
Director David Fincher isn’t known for his lightness of touch. Fight Club, 7even, The Game – these are thoroughly modern exercises in cinematic cynicism. Which makes The Curious Case of Benjamin Button all the more remarkable.
Taking the simple fantasy premise of a man who ages backwards and then turns this potential plot gimmick in to a meditative take on birth, life, death and, most acutely, love.
Brad Pitt, maturing of late in to a ﬁne character actor, lends the title role a brittle poignancy. Here is a man lost within his own life, yet dealing with events with a wide-eyed humour and humanity. His relationship with Daisy (a luminous Cate Blanchett) is the ﬁlm’s emotional core.
“A new-found tenderness”
As Benjamin grows younger and Daisy ages, the pair meet in the middle and enjoy a blissful love aﬀair – but it’s their inevitable parting that really sets the heart strings zinging, giving fresh meaning to the joy and necessity of people growing old together.
But Fincher remains the real star. The ﬁlm gleams with his trademark style and invention. But there’s real substance here too as he handles the gently unfolding 166 minutes with a new-found tenderness, space and poetic grace.