First of all, it wasn’t that long. People need to chill the eff out. Increase your attention span! Sit for a minute! Pee before the film starts!
With the exception of those blatantly gorgeous glamour shots of Brad Pitt on his motorcycle at various angles, everything in this film was necessary. F. Scott didn’t want them to cut out a bunch of stuff, and they probably already had to, and judging from that man’s whimsical imagination and literary talent they did it justice. And the only other complaint was that I actually couldn’t understand a) what the hell Daisy (Cate Blanchett) was saying as she lay narrating the story both decrepit and dying and b) if there was a direct connection between the dude who made the backwards-winding clock and Benny Button himself. I mean, I get that the clock was a Symbol of Benjamin Button’s Life, but it’s not like that dude finished the clock on Benny’s b-day. I don’t get it.
Minor faults aside, this movie was ridiculous. And by ridiculous, I mean amazing. I had heard so much weird stuff, so much good stuff and so much bad stuff and a few weird glimpses of trailers featuring Brad Pitt’s aged head on a little person’s body, and that was pretty weird in and of itself. But it’s such a truly original idea for a story. So more props are due to F. Scott Fitzgerald, for coming up with this!
And HOT DAMN the makeup was good. Shit, I still can’t believe it. And however they made the Sexiest Man Alive (and the Bra- part of Brangelina) into a spotty-skinned, kind of ugly, wrinkly old man (OH YEAH, AND ATTACHED HIS HEAD TO SOMEONE ELSE’S BODY? WHOA.) is way beyond my mental capacity. Even if the filmmaking (cinematography) was average, the visual and special effects were spectacular. Plus, spanning an entire life and several generations can be difficult, not to mention expensive, and while I’m sure they fudged a few things here and there, it looked pretty damn authentic.
Brad Pitt is a really, really good actor. Now, I have a friend who says things like, “Jennifer Garner is a really, really great actress. She’s good at acting. I enjoy watching her act.” and obviously he is not talking about her acting ability. And while I’m a late bloomer in the Brad Pitt Fan Appreciation Society (but a member nonetheless), I’ve seen him in enough things BEFORE I found him attractive to know that this man is talented. Seriously. And when he was wearing that old man face, I could see what Robert Redford was going to look like in about 20 years. Brad Pitt = Robert Redford.
I have heard complaints about Cate Blanchett’s questionable New Orleans accent, and I guess I saw (or heard, rather) that a little bit, but hey, even Dominic West lets it slip once in awhile (that’s what she said). Besides, the most obvious and important thing was her genuine chemistry with Brad Pitt. I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that it’s probably not hard to formulate some chemistry with that guy. And that considered, it’s a tough job. In all seriousness, this story is about a unique situation. She had to find an intimate connection with a person who’s living in reverse, and there is no Method Acting Approach for this role. There isn’t a guy out there who’s living this Ben Button life for her to practice on. So while I had nothing authentic to pinpoint in her performance, I couldn’t help but think that it felt authentic. She cared about old/young Benny just as she cared for young/old Benny, and she just upped the ante a little when their age groups overlapped socially appropriately. (Oh, and those scenes were hot.)
I don’t think this is the best movie of the year. I don’t know what is, but this one’s too different. Certain aspects of it merit Academy Awards, to be sure, but I actually don’t think it should have been made with those grandiose intentions, though that’s what happened and that’s obviously what was intended. It’s a fantasy, and I tend to cut fantasies some major slack. They don’t need to be cinematically or stylistically precise, and that’s what makes them great. They’re an experiment in reality. This movie experimented a great deal and from that standpoint, it succeeded.
I walked out of the theater and the first two people I remember seeing were an old woman and an old man. It was ironic, to say the least. And as soon as I saw them, I immediately got this sense that there was more truth to the story than I thought. After seeing Ben Button, I feel like I have more of an ability to picture my grandmother as a young woman. It’s a hard thing to do. Hell, it’s hard enough to picture your parents as kids, teens, twentysomethings. But this movie brings eternal youth to light.