When in most films with a gimmick, if you take the gimmick away and just have the story play as normal, the movie would be boring. The case with this movie is half and half. During the backdrop of Hurricane Katrina, a young woman (Julia Ormond) reads a diary to her dying mother, which tells the story of one Benjamin Button. Benjamin Button (Brad Pitt) was born old and grows young as his life goes on. His father Thomas (Jason Flemyng) abandons him thinking him some kind of monster, and he’s adopted by a young black woman named Queenie (Taraji P. Henson), who runs an old folks’ home. But when Benjamin meets a young girl named Daisy (Elle Fanning, Madisen Beaty, Cate Blanchett), he immediately falls in love. The movie tells the story of their lives when they’re both with and without each other, with one getting older and the other younger.

Let me first discuss my opening statement. There were times when the movie’s story was so captivating that it would have been interesting with or without the reverse aging in play. But the other half of the time, the plot relied heavily on that idea. To make a long story short, the story was good, but it was really long with some parts that were probably unnecessary and could have been cut out. I was really into the movie most of the time, though. But during the last hour or so (maybe more like thirty minutes), I was really looking down at my watch, wondering how much longer the movie had. And a lot of what could have been cut came from the beginning of the movie, as it really was a slow start getting to the main plot of the story (though there really isn’t a plot, honestly. It’s more of a character study).

And the acting was good overall, especially with Brad Pitt (who I think is good in just about anything). But the most curious part of all dealt with the ages of the characters as the movie went on and how they looked amongst each other in correspondence to how old they should have looked. Now, it would take a lot more concentration on my part to really nit-pick at that, so I’ll leave that be. But there was one thing about the acting that I really didn’t like, and that was Cate Blanchett’s narration as an old woman. I could hardly understand a word she said, and she would always narrate important parts of the story, which upset me as I only understood half of what she was saying. And there is one age discrepancy I’d like to bring to attention, which is the young Daisy. When she’s first introduced, imdb has her listed as 7, though she’s played by a 10-year-old and talks like she’s older. And then toward the end of the movie, during some voice-over narration, there’s a mention of how she would have been about 5 when she first met Benjamin, and that threw me off completely.

And speaking of more visual aspects, and with Daisy, there was another discrepancy that bugged me. Benjamin makes note of how he’ll never forget Daisy’s bright blue eyes, and he repeats that a few times at the beginning. And Elle Fanning had these gorgeous bright blue eyes. But throughout the movie, Daisy’s eyes are continually changing color. The Daisy played by Madisen Beaty looked like her eyes were nearly brown, and Cate Blanchett’s eyes would go from pale blue to light blue. With all the money spent on Benjamin’s looks, they could have least thrown a few dollars in for some contacts. Though on the more positive side, the visuals were excellent. The older Benjamin (in looks) reminded me of the CGI from the Final Fantasy movies with such attention to detail. But the visual effects that blew me away the most weren’t of the older Benjamin, but of the younger. The way they made Brad Pitt look so young made even the similar process at the beginning of X-Men 3 look shabby.

But my favorite moments of the movie were the smaller moments. First, the man who had been struck by lightning and all his stories. Those had my audience laughing, and I thought they were a fun touch. But my favorite part in the entire movie was the brief segment around the middle of the movie, I suppose it was, when Benjamin tells a story of intersecting lives and how changing one thing could have changed everything, so therefore how every little action causes a greater reaction. I really loved that scene, and it really stuck with me during and after the film.

I really don’t see how people are comparing this to Forrest Gump (I guess that’s just for people who haven’t actually seen it), as I don’t think they’re anything alike at all. Not to mention that, technically, Benjamin Button was written first. I had no idea until the credits that it was based on a short story by F. Scott Fitzgerald. But then again, who the heck knows anything about what F. Scott wrote outside of The Great Gatsby. So the movie does have some faults, but it is an all-around great movie and great experience, especially during all the scenes with Katrina raging in the background, when you know what’s going to happen, even if the characters don’t (dramatic irony!). But anyway, I’d recommend the film. Another Brad Pitt success.

A Keanu 'Whoa'

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