Benjamin Button and Mere Curious Cases

Posted in Movies by NAN on 2009/01/15
Brad Pitt and Tilda Swinton in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008)

Benjamin (Brad Pitt) and Elisabeth (Tilda Swinton) having an illicit affair in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008)

Sensing that it had some semblance with Big Fish, which I thoroughly enjoyed, I wanted to see Benjamin Button right on the opening night. On the other hand, I was ready for disappointment after reading some negative reviews online. I was wrong. Although it had some element of magic—the reverse aging thing, the superstitious hummingbird appearances, the tales of sailors, midgets, and farmers—it didn’t come across to me as Big Fish fantastic but anomalous, like I had to let it fit into the real world and reject the curious cases as they were. And the bad reviews were right—it was dull and it was too long. I really was pinching myself from dozing off.

I’m being harsh, but what it really ended up to be was, at least for the girls I was with while watching it, how Brad Pitt transforms into a handsome young man and sleeps with the haughty ballerina (Cate Blanchett) who dumped him when he was still all wrinkled. It so happens that Pitt is actually much older than the Benjamin she fell in love with, and how bitchy was that—bragging in a date about dancing in New York with Balanchine and their physicality, coming back to him only after an unfortunate accident which stopped her from dancing in her prime. So what was Button really about when it declared importance in the movie title—the business of Benjamin’s real father, and that’s it? Why did it have to be told during Katrina—so the movie would be congruent to Pitt’s advocacy?

The only things I liked were the scoring, the Russian hotel vignette, and the visual atmosphere. I wasn’t even impressed with the aging effects which made Pitt look like a tiyanak than authentically old. However, Tilda Swinton is always divine. As the lonely wife to an ambassador, her forbidden love affair with Benjamin in the old hotel was my favourite bit in the movie. It felt believable—how they started from waiting for each other in the hotel kitchen and ended up lovemaking in Benjamin’s room, how she disappears, how she eventually swims through the English Channel after her failed attempt as a young girl. So Benjamin gets back with his first love until he becomes a young boy who doesn’t remember anything. What was that about—like the maker of the reverse clock who just got lost at sea—mere curious cases?


13 Responses

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  1. ayliya said, on 2009/01/15 at 11:08 PM

    I agree, I also don’t get why the Katrina part had to be involved in it. For me it was a pretty movie. And yes, the best parts were when Tilda was on screen.

    • nan said, on 2009/01/15 at 11:14 PM

      @ayliya Haha! We’re so biased for Tilda. Curiously, if you saw Burn After Reading, she was also a cheating wife.

    • nan said, on 2009/01/17 at 3:01 AM

      @ayliya Torrents, dear. I noticed only recently that I haven’t bought DVD’s for almost a year already. Thanks, Internet. I had a nice marathon during the holidays.

  2. ayliya said, on 2009/01/17 at 2:44 AM

    I still haven’t seen Burn After Reading (poor me) – but Tilda is love, love, love.

  3. coffee said, on 2009/01/18 at 7:27 AM

    it was a little weird to see an old version of Brad Pitt’s face pasted onto a kid’s body, but i guess that’s why they call it a “curious case”

  4. nan said, on 2009/01/18 at 1:19 PM

    @coffee That looked like Gollum, don’t you think? On the other hand, I remember another sequence I liked aside from the Russian hotel thing. How Daisy met the accident–that was beautiful too.

  5. nikka said, on 2009/01/20 at 6:31 AM

    showing pa lang yan dito. ang late no? pero sa dvd ko na panonoorin, pag-uwi. :p

  6. nan said, on 2009/01/20 at 11:13 AM

    @nikka Sa US, Christmas movie sya, so late rin kahit rito. Download mo na lang. Nasubukan mo na ba ang sine dyan?

  7. nikka said, on 2009/01/20 at 4:17 PM

    they dub it kaya laging huli sa showing date. and it’s for 5 euro (plus in german) kaya wag na lang. :p

  8. nan said, on 2009/01/20 at 4:41 PM

    @nikka Wow, almost 400 pesos. And German subs would have been bearable, but dub :/

  9. nikka said, on 2009/01/21 at 2:20 AM

    yeah.. and no english subtitles. 😦 kahit sa tv, it’s the same thing. all dubbed.

  10. nikka said, on 2009/01/21 at 7:50 AM

    oops, sa 29th pa pala ipapalabas. i just saw the ad kanina. :p

  11. nan said, on 2009/01/22 at 1:03 AM

    @nikka At least naintindihan mo yung ad, haha!

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