304. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

Movie: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

Release Date: December 25, 2008

Director: David Fincher

Starring: Brad Pitt, Cate Blanchett, Taraji P. Henson, Julia Ormond, Jason Flemyng, Elias Koteas, Tilda Swinton.

Tag Lines: “Life isn’t measured in minutes, but in moments.”

“I was born under unusual circumstances.”

“Life can only be understood backward. It must be lived forward.”

“Time is passing, even backwards.”

Relevance: On Christmas Day 2008, I received one of the best gifts I ever bought for myself, a ticket to see ‘The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.’ Christmas Day has traditionally been a “movie” day since the late 1990’s. I don’t necessarily go every year on that day, but I have spent many a Christmas evening with a big bucket of popcorn in a darkened movie theater. 2008 was one of the most memorable because I got to see Brad Pitt.

To say this is a winning combination for me as a movie fan is an understatement. This is director David Fincher’s second of four films for this project (see 347. Zodiac) and Brad Pitt’s first of six. I admire both of their artistry and integrity as film makers and have followed both of their careers very closely. The fact that Mr. Pitt is one of the most handsome humans on the planet is merely a coincidence. But it doesn’t hurt.

I absolutely adored every second of ‘The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.’ Above all, it entertained me, but it also moved me to tears numerous times throughout. And when I left the theater, I couldn’t stop thinking about what I had witnessed. It took me days to wrap my head around the film, its performances and its message. So much so that I went back to the theaters to see it again and at almost three hours in length, that says a lot about both the movie and me.

Not a lot of people shared my enthusiasm about the film. It was well received by critics for the most part. It was nominated for thirteen Academy Awards and won three that year, but I did know a lot of people, both friends and family, that disliked or hated it. I understand that the premise of a man aging backwards is odd and many people can’t accept certain ideas of this fantasy film. That’s fine. I get it. I don’t get the allure of Marvel films. But as I always say, “art is subjective.”

‘The Curious Case of Benjamin Button,’ believe it or not, was not my favorite film of 2008, but it did leave a huge impression on my psyche. I have watched this film numerous times over the years as I do own it on DVD. Every time I watch it, I can’t help but fall in love with it a little bit more. As the movie gets older and as I get older, it just seems to click more and more, all summed up in one of its most poignant quotes:

“For what it’s worth: it’s never too late or, in my case, too early to be whoever you want to be. There’s no time limit, stop whenever you want. You can change or stay the same, there are no rules to this thing. We can make the best or the worst of it. I hope you make the best of it. And I hope you see things that startle you. I hope you feel things you never felt before. I hope you meet people with a different point of view. I hope you live a life you’re proud of. If you find that you’re not, I hope you have the strength to start all over again.”

Today’s Thoughts: This is almost a full Kleenex box movie for me. It could be that 2020 has had a rough start, or that my frame of mind is a little more sensitive than usual, but watching ‘The Curious Case of Benjamin Button’ was super emotional for me today.

I really don’t have much more to say about it. I absolutely love this movie. The directing, acting and screenplay are all top notch and superbly executed. It’s a beautiful film with a beautiful, timeless message. Brad Pitt is heartbreaking in his powerful performance, but so are Cate Blanchett and Taraji P. Henson.

I always recommend this movie with an asterisk because I know some people have an issue with the idea for this film. However, if you can suspend a bit of reality and allow this movie to take you on its journey, you may come out at the end a better person.

Go on. Give it a try. To quote Benjamin Button, “You never know what’s coming for you.”

Awards: Academy Award for Best Achievement in Art Direction, Donald Graham Burt, Victor J. Zolfo (winner), Academy Award for Best Achievement in Makeup, Greg Cannom (winner), Academy Award for Best Achievement in Visual Effects, Eric Barba, Steve Preeg, Burt Dalton, Craig Barron (winner), Academy Award for Best Motion Picture of the Year (nomination), Academy Award for Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role, Brad Pitt (nomination), Academy Award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role, Taraji P. Henson (nomination), Academy Award for Best Achievement in Directing, David Fincher (nomination), Academy Award for Best Writing, Adapted Screenplay, Eric Roth, Robin Swicord (nomination), Academy Award for Best Achievement in Cinematography, Claudio Miranda (nomination), Academy Award for Best Achievement in Film Editing, Kirk Baxter, Angus Wall (nomination), Academy Award for Best Achievement in Costume Design, Jacqueline West (nomination), Academy Award for Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Alexandre Desplat (nomination), Academy Award for Best Achievement in Sound Mixing, David Parker, Michael Semanick, Ren Klyce, Mark Weingarten, Golden Globe for Best Motion Picture – Drama (nomination), Golden Globe for Best Director, David Fincher (nomination), Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture – Drama, Brad Pitt (nomination), Golden Globe forBest Screenplay, Eric Roth, Robin Swicord (nomination), Golden Globe for Best Original Score, Alexandre Desplat (nomination), BAFTA Award for Best Production Design, Donald Graham Burt, Victor J. Zolfo (winner), BAFTA Award for Best Special Visual Effects, Eric Barba, Steve Preeg, Burt Dalton, Craig Barron (winner), BAFTA Award for Best Make Up & Hair, Jean Ann Black, Colleen Callaghan (winner), BAFTA Award for Best Film (nomination), BAFTA Award for Best Director, David Fincher (nomination), BAFTA Award for Best Leading Actor, Brad Pitt (nomination), BAFTA Award for Best Screenplay – Adapted, Eric Roth (nomination), BAFTA Award for Best Cinematography, Claudio Miranda (nomination), BAFTA Award for Best Editing, Kirk Baxter, Angus Wall (nomination), BAFTA Award for Best Costume Design, Jacqueline West (nomination), BAFTA Award for Best Film Music, Alexandre Desplat (nomination), Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture (nomination), Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role, Brad Pitt (nomination), Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role, Taraji P. Henson (nomination), Broadcast Film Critics Association Award for Best Picture (nomination), Broadcast Film Critics Association Award for Best Director, David Fincher, Broadcast Film Critics Association Award for Best Acting Ensemble (nomination), Broadcast Film Critics Association Award for Best Actor, Brad Pitt (nomination), Broadcast Film Critics Association Award for Best Actress, Cate Blanchett (nomination), Broadcast Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actress, Taraji P. Henson (nomination), Broadcast Film Critics Association Award for Best Writer, Eric Roth (nomination), Broadcast Film Critics Association Award for Best Composer, Alexandre Desplat (nomination), Directors Guild of America Award for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Motion Pictures, David Fincher (nomination), Los Angeles Film Critics Association Award for Best Music, Alexandre Desplat (nomination), National Board of Review Award for Top Ten Films (winner), National Board of Review Award for Best Director, David Fincher (winner), National Board of Review Award for Best Adapted Screenplay, Eric Roth (winner), New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Director, David Fincher (nomination), New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Cinematographer, Claudio Miranda (nomination), PGA Award for Outstanding Producer of Theatrical Motion Pictures, Kathleen Kennedy, Frank Marshall, Cean Chaffin (nomination), Writers Guild of America Award for Best Adapted Screenplay, Eric Roth, Robin Swicord (nomination).

Ways to Watch: YouTube, Google Play, Amazon Prime, Vudu, iTunes, Hulu, DVD Availability.

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