The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

By Dr. Christine Koesterman

Benjamin Button takes the viewer on an amazing, magical journey. A journey at once unbelievable and yet so sweet and creative one never wishes the story to reach its conclusion.

The story begins on the day WWI ended and in the midst of the evening celebrations Benjamin is born into an affluent family. Sadly, his mother dies at his birth and his grieving father is horrified to see the “monster” that his wife has delivered. The baby is a wizened old man, and so, in his revulsion the father decides to kill the baby. Fate takes a hand though and he is unable to find a secluded spot to do the deed and leaves the baby instead on the steps of the back door of a retirement home.

Baby Benjamin is discovered by a young, gentle black girl who works at the home. She takes pity on the poor ugly child and raises him as her own. Although confined to a wheelchair Benjamin leads a happy life surrounded by the members of the home and his much loved adopted “mother.” One bright, sunny day, Benjamin meets the love of his life when she arrives at the retirement home to visit with her grandmother. Although Benjamin is crippled with age and in a wheelchair, she sees the young boy in him, befriends Benjamin and they play as normal children.

Over the years she grows older as Benjamin grows younger, and at the time of WWII they meet as equals and fall in love. Their love is flawed by the knowledge that she is growing older while Benjamin grows ever younger, a fact that appears to separate them forever. But this story is not your usual love story, and as such has an ending that is at once heartbreaking and unexpected.

The stories within a story help the telling of a wonderful romance though series of flashbacks, masterfully told with great cinematography, and a soaring sound track. It’s the total experience. The story spans the time period immediately following WWI and takes us through WWII, seamless editing allows the story to unfold gently and realistically.

Although the movie is almost three hours in length, it never lags and takes the viewer along a visually beautiful, superbly creative journey. Brad Pitt gives a masterful and tender performance, for which I truly think he deserved an Oscar. Kate Blanchette is, as always, superb.

I loved this movie. Its rare that I have the opportunity and privilege of seeing such a creative gem. If I could I would give this best film of the year, indeed best film of many years. In a word it was MAGIC. The picture and sound quality are first rate and the scenic beauty and sound of this epic come through in dynamic fashion. The 2-DVD set is loaded with bonus material that will provide hours of enjoyment.