The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

Director: David Fincher
Year Released: 2008
Rating: 2.0

Fantasy picture with a clever concept (courtesy of F. Scott Fitzgerald): Brad Pitt's ambitious protagonist is born as an old baby (with cataracts and arthritis, looking like a Harlequin Fetus) and gets progressively younger until he's a dead young baby (because if he didn't die at that point I'm assuming he'd go back to being a sperm cell and egg) and experiencing all that life has to offer in reverse order. Although - unlike the strangely similar Forrest Gump - it never utters the words "life is like a box of chocolates" that's essentially the point of this grotesquely sentimental and numbing odyssey through a life lived backwards: the movie repeats (over and over) how it must be painful for the Button character to 'see everyone around him age and die,' but something about this seems off (and frankly ordinary): even aging the 'proper' way we see loved ones and friends die, and Button's dying inside instead of externally, so the prevailing argument is that it's the visual sign of aging (not just the adding up of birthdays) that's so grotesque to view and endure. I generally distrust movies that try to encompass the totality of time and existence as this does, and despite the remarkable talents involved the philosophical undertaking is too much for either Fincher or screenwriter Eric Roth. The Pitt performance is a whole lot of (very good) makeup and limping and Cate Blanchett is decent (her grumble while dying is annoying), but Taraji Henson and the underappreciated Jared Harris (as the Lieutenant Dan character) really stand out in support.