As Hurricane Katrina approaches New Orleans in 2005, Daisy(Cate Blanchett) lies on her deathbed in an hospital in the city. Her daughter, Caroline(Julia Ormond), is by her bed taking care of her. Daisy narrates a story of a blind clockmaker, Monsier Gateau(Elias Koteas) who made a clock that displays time backwards, to remember the young boys like his son who lost their lives in the World War I. After narrating this story, Daisy asks Caroline to open a box containing letters and postcards. Daisy, then, asks Caroline to read from the letters. As Caroline starts reading the letters, she comes to know these are letters written by Benjamin Button(Brad Pitt) to her mom.
Benjamin was born to Thomas Button(Jason Flemyng) and his wife at end of World War I. His mother dies at the childbirth. Thomas is shocked as the baby has the skin structure and other diseases(cataract) associated with the old men. Thinking the baby to be a freak, Thomas abandons him at the doorsteps of a nursing home. Queenie(Taraji P Henson) and Tizzy, a couple who works in the nursing home, takes up the baby as their own and names him Benjamin.
As Benjamin grows older, he becomes younger. At first, he is not able to walk. But Queenie takes him to a faith healer who make Benjamin to get up from his wheel chair. As years passes by, Benjamin meets Daisy, granddaughter of an inmate at the nursing home. Daisy likes older men and hence likes Benjamin. Although they are attracted to each other, nothing really happens in that age.
As time grows older, Benjamin grows younger and Queenie delivers a baby girl. Slowly, Benjamin ventures out into the open world and takes up a job with a tugboat. The captain of the tugboat, Captain Mike(Jared Harris), develops a liking for Benjamin and introduces him to the pleasures of the world. During a visit to a local house of pleasure, Thomas Button bumps into them. Thomas invites Benjamin for a drink.
When the World War II breaks out, Benjamin goes to Europe with Captain Mike on the tugboat. He keeps sending postcards to Daisy from all the places. He ends up in Russia. Here, he meets Elizabeth Abbott(Tilda Swinton), an older women with respect to Benjamin’s age, and begins a torrid affair. He also writes to Daisy about Elizabeth. As the war approaches an end, Elizabeth moves out of Europe leaving a thank-you note for Benjamin.
On a salvage mission towards the end of the war, Captain Mike’s tugboat gets destroyed. But Benjamin miraculously survives. When he comes back to Queenie after the war, she is happy to have him back. But, at the same time, she is surprised to see him getting younger. As Daisy is in New York pursuing a career in ballet, Benjamin drops in to surprise her. Benjamin is disappointed to find that she has a boyfriend and the earlier magic is not existing now.
The rest of the story traces Benjamin’s life and curious phenomenon of reverse-aging. Life is full of surprises and most of his loved ones come to terms with it.
This movie is an adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s short story by the same name. This is directed by David Fincher. The subject is a clear departure from his earlier subjects which are usually darker than this theme. Although this is an ideal candidate for a performance driven movie, the visuals take over the performances. The narrative style and presentation of the story takes your attention away from the performances. Brad Pitt is older at the beginning of the movie and is also shown as a teenager at the end of the movie. It makes you wonder how they did it.
Of the performances, Taraji P Henson overshadows everyone else as Benjamin’s foster mother. Her anger after Thomas informs Benjamin of his lineage is excellent. She is also genuinely happy when Benjamin says “Your are my mother” at Thomas’s funeral.
This curious case is also an interesting case.
Picture Courtesy: Yahoo! MoviesTags: Movies,The Curious Case of Benjamin Button,Cate Blanchett,Julia Ormond,Elias Koteas,Brad Pitt,Jason Flemyng,Taraji P Henson,Jared Harris,Tilda Swinton,F Scott Fitzgerald,David Fincher,Drama