Curious plot captivates audiences

Kathleen Ambre

A fascinating yet peculiar journey through time: Flaccid skin tightens against sharp cheekbones, unyielding joints bow to exuberance, and an innocent old man progresses to vigorous maturity and then youth.

“The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” tells an inquisitive story of a man whose life moves in reverse, a life compromised of insightful fragments of time that cause the audience to live vicariously through the character. Director David Fincher has succeeded in enlightening his audience with a tale that is unique yet somehow relatable.

The film is tailored with gauzy, box camera photography fitting the early chapters of Benjamin’s life to implace the a 1920s setting. Fincher effectively captures the look of an era, recreating comical silent films with an enduring reference to a human lightning rod.

In time, Benjamin (Brad Pitt) becomes aware that his unusual ability is both a blessing and a curse. He continually wins and loses Daisy (Cate Blanchett), the woman of his dreams, as their lives incoherently intersect like chronological ships across burgundy waters. The plot deliberately exaggerates the phrase, “they grew apart.”

Their temporarily disconnected lives generate relationships of their own. Daisy ensues flighty romances with fellow ballet performers while Benjamin instigates a tender affair with an Englishwoman (Tilda Swinton) staying in his hotel. Although the relationship lacks heart-wrenching declarations of love, it yields a perplexing blend of passion and emotional reserve.

Eventually reuniting with his childhood sweetheart (child played by Elle Fanning), the film restores a passionate romance as they ironically meet halfway in time. Benjamin’s adoptive mother Queenie warned her boy “you never know what’s comin’ for ya,” but he understands too well that a long future with Daisy is impossible. Still they knowingly embrace the time they are given–yearning and fatalism intensify this whimsical romance. A noteworthy scene between the ever-younger Benjamin and aging Daisy in her mirrored dance studio captures the film’s important themes of humanity and demise.

An exhilarating naval battle, breathtaking special effects and curious plot line offer an underlying depth to an unrequited love story. And the intricacy of the film, alongside talented actors and actresses, leave the audience with an awe-inspiring impression that lingers after the credits roll.