The Curious Case of Benjamin Button ~ (USA, 2008) ~ DVD

buttonWorried about the Gumpta factor, I delayed watching this one for as long as I could. Well, it finally wormed its way to the top of my queue, and appeared in my box. Once that happens, you’re cooked. Slap it in and hope for the best.

So. Expectations lowered, I was not disappointed. The look of the movie was wonderful. The story was about what I expected. Interesting in a how-will-this-resolve-itself way. The sentimentality of this off center love story with its hash of kitsch and almost perverse drum beat on aging (and reversing the process…hey! There may be something here) almost gets in the way. The story (or “case”) must be told, but clocking in at a little under 3 hours was a bit much.

The acting (POSSIBLE SPOILERS HERE). Brad Pitt was good, but this is definitely not one of his better roles. The women stole the show here. Cate Blanchett was terrific. Just right as both the young ballerina, the Broadway dancer at the top of the world, the tragic figure after her accident in Paris, and all the way through to the end. But oh my! Here again, Tilda Swinton, in her limited role as Elizabeth Abbott, stole it for me. Her scenes with Pitt were my very favorites of the film. I had not realized (or had forgotten) that she was even in this, what with all the focus on Pitt-Blanchett.

I’ve mentioned this before about Tilda. She has a magnetic presence on the screen (for me at least). I can’t take my eyes off her. Part of it may be that androgynous look she has, but I’ve seen her in several different roles and she’s not typecast. She just brings a compelling presence to her performances.

Phew. Glad I got that out of my system.

It’s interesting how they handled the voice-overs. Voice-overs for nearly three hourscan get old fast. But they were broken up by the diary/postcard device, fading into live action. Which I think worked really well. On the other hand. What was up with the Hurricane Katrina update?. Superfluous and of no added value – or certainly any added suspense.

For fans of top acting, and superior sets and photography (kinda  hokey, but I dug the man struck by lightning reprises, with their old-timey sepia look). Ironically, maybe the gumpiest thing in the film. If you have the time to devote, it may be worth your while to see this one. But not a serious Oscar Best Pic nominee. No way.

♦♦♦

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