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Generally favorable reviews- based on 476 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 79 out of 476

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  1. Aug 31, 2014
    Probably one of the more unique films I have ever seen, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button is a moving film about life and truly wraps you up into its world and never lets you go, ultimately leaving you deeply affected and moved by the film. The direction by David Fincher is fantastic as usual. The cinematography is also gorgeous and perfect for a film of this type. The costume and production design are also pitch perfect, as is the stunning makeup. The makeup is some of the best I have ever seen in a film, honestly. The acting from Brad Pitt, Cate Blanchett, and Taraji P. Henson, is also very powerful and very good. The unique story of a man born old and who gets younger as time goes on, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button is a touching, brilliantly made film that is a tad long, but never feels as long as it is, especially since you wish there was more to see once the credits start rolling. While the romance elements have been done before, the unique twist thrown in here adds a certain freshness to it that elevates it above your usual romantic film. This is a film you need to see. Expand
  2. Aug 27, 2014
    In ways, Benjamin Button is a new age Forrest Gump. At the same time, they are nothing alike. What they do share is an unique adventure through their troublesome yet exciting lives. Brad Pitt gives a first-rate performance along with Cate Blanchett and Taraji P. Henson.
  3. Feb 11, 2014
    As an elderly woman lies on her deathbed she recounts the peculiar story of Benjamin Button, a man whose life is inexplicably tied to a mysterious backwards-running clock. After Benjamin’s mother dies in childbirth, the father abandons baby Benjamin because of his stark physical defects. Luckily Queenie, a black woman who manages a senior’s care home, finds newborn Benjamin and raises him herself. For the rest of his life Benjamin calls Queenie mother.

    When Benjamin is born, he emerges prematurely aged. Medical tests show that he has the physical characteristics of a person in his eighties. Originally penned by F. Scott Fitzgerald, makes Benjamin Button tells a peculiar life story that forays in the world of the fantastic: the crux of the story is that, just as the clock ticks backwards, Benjamin too ages in reverse. He gets younger and younger over time.

    The task of dealing with this massive disconnect between his physically aged exterior, and his inner infantile self, forces Benjamin to attempt to act like an adult (to match his aged exterior), but no matter how hard he tries his true inner child shines through, especially whenever it comes to booze and women, areas where he has zero experience. Benjamin wins the adoration of most every character he meets, and along the way he breaks through the prejudicial barriers that age and race typically erect.

    This film is a diversion for Fincher. Many of the defining qualities of David Fincher’s films are not so very present in Benjamin Button. This charmed, almost magical tale shares none of the characteristic of other Fincher scripts. It is not filtered through the darkened lens of hyper awareness; there is none of the desolation and bleak deconstruction of modern culture that fills Zodiac, the most recently released Fincher film before this one.

    Benjamin Button seems to be the only film in Fincher's body of work that is not a dark, psychological thriller. Here, Fincher proves that he can work in drama just as well as he can work in action and suspense, however he does have expert help.

    The director of photography Claudio Miranda, who had worked on a number of Fincher’s earlier pictures, sets the tones and temperature of the images so they project like a thriller, dark with shadows, slight, almost sepia toned. A highly refined picture quality.

    Once again, this film features Angus Wall and Kirk Baxter, the brilliant editing team that would go on to win multiple Oscars for best editing in The Social Network and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. They brilliantly let visuals alone tell as much of the story as possible. As with Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Benjamin Button has tons of shots and locations. The exact opposite of Panic Room.

    Eric Roth & David Fincher

    The technique of recounting the story through recollection as a series of flashbacks, as well as Benjamin’s unexpected success despite his handicap, make Benjamin Button bear an off-putting resemblance to the structure of Forest Gump (1994). This is no coincidence.

    The same writer who won an Oscar for his Forest Gump screenplay, Eric Roth, is also the writer of Benjamin Button.

    As characters both Forest and Benjamin worked on boats, both took part in World Wars, and both perpetually pursue women from their childhood. What is great thought is that Fincher is able to divert this potential redundancy. While Forest bumbles along, simply falling into phenomenal situations, Benjamin paves his own way. It’s existential drive versus dumb luck.
  4. Nov 25, 2013
    The scene in Grand Central Terminal with the clock that showcased the WWI battle and the fathers only wish to rewind time so that he may see his son again left an impression with me for life. Let it be known that War, for better or worse, will scar the immediate families of the fallen for eternity in ways which those that have not sacrificed will never know. If I was the authority, I would have made sure that the clock would have stayed in place forever. Expand
  5. Oct 25, 2013
    Benjamin Button told an unbelievable story with acting that was superb but what was lacking was something to be felt after its over two and half hour length. The movie passed all measures with story, acting, score and scenery but never pushed the limits to make it excellent.
  6. Oct 17, 2013
    what a magical pile of before even watching this movie I correctly guessed that Blanchett and Pitt would meet halfway through his "lifecycle". This is not a movie for me I guess. This is for suckers who are into feel good movies like Forrest Gump.
  7. Jul 12, 2013
    First of all, I don't think the realist elements have done good to this movie. I mean, if the protagonist is meant to be fantastic why is it necessary for us to know when he was born, where is he going, what (real) wars he fought? Superman is like this movie's protagonist, he defies natural laws, like gravity for example. Benjamin Button is doing the same thing with biological laws when he rejuvenates, but despite the realistic context where he is placed, no-one seems to be so affected by his unusual nature (and that makes realistic characters behave artificially). Just pay some attention to the title: The curious case..., why case? "Cases" exist only in reality. If the movie would have dwelled in the fantastic, fictional, or whatever you call it domain of the narrative it certainly had been better.

    Secondly, and more important, my opinion is that this movie doesn't eventually say much. During the almost three hours length I questioned myself about Benjamin's nature and what philosophical facts should it reveal. But as I tried and tried to build-up my logic I couldn't reach any destination. In fact, Benjamin looked like a simple, ordinary men that lives his life from start to end. He's different from us only because his appearance evolves from old men to infant child. But he is born a child and mentally he's just like us (as he admits).

    All my respect to everyone in the production crew because they made a very well-done job, from special effects to acting performances. The story is the major problem here.
  8. Jun 11, 2013
    Spectacular story about the journey of a life. To see this movie go though all the different decades was incredible. An emotional movie that has something valuable to share. Just splendid. Also, wonderful directing and art direction.
  9. May 27, 2013
    Probably Mick LaSalle, from San Francisco Chronicle, wouldn't recognize drama even if it danced in front of him without pants. This is the most dramatic and touching movie ever, full of surprises of a whole life story, with all the emotional events that could and couldn't happen.
  10. Jan 23, 2013
    Very good movie. Cry, your heart will suffer, but not leave wing time to enjoy.
  11. Dec 21, 2012
    This movie is LONGGG. Very long. So it pays to be into a deep psychological mood or even pondering the meaning of life. Brad Pitt stars as Ben Button. This film, while some complain it is too long, too boring,etc., it is very REWARDING in the end. Sure, complain that it doesn't have a story. It is not one of those light-hearted movies, it is not a comedy; but a genius film that depicts life in a different way. I thought it was a magical movie, and offered the very best. The camera tells the story, and as a result, I did actually cry at the end. Decide for yourself if you really like it, but I know I did. B+ Expand
  12. Nov 8, 2012
    The Curious case of Benjamine button is verryyyyyyy longgggggg. Brad Pitt does a great job and i like the narration. It was suprisingly sadder then i expected, but still felt longer then it should.
  13. Apr 26, 2012
    This is one of the greatest movies in existence. It's two hours and forty-six minutes of an eerily creative movie that makes you view life differently after it's finished. You won't feel the same after the screen goes black. A pure masterpiece.
  14. Jan 31, 2012
    Beautiful movie, you kinda tear up at the end inside. It makes you soft. Very soft. Watch this with your family or gf, but not your bros. Unless you want to feel a homo moment with your bros.
  15. Jan 19, 2012
    Absolutely beautiful! Long but I didn't feel it because I was caught by the story. Scott Fitzgerald was indeed a great author, and I loved the fact that they were able to portray his work in this wonderful movie. Just because a movie is not 'realistic' and is based in fantasy doesn't mean that there are not important issues to be explored. This movie is about inner strength about having the ability to get through life with faith, acknowledging one's limitations yet, fighting to acomplish our goals. It is also about loyalty and courage... and about frustration too, because not everything can be changed since there are things that escape to our hands. It may be over emotional and overly 'optimistic', but it does not diminish its value. It is not a drama, it is not a thriller, it is not a comedy.I wouldn't put it in a specific category...this just IS a wonderful story, written by a great novelist...and brought to be enjoyed in a total different way...the big screen! Expand
  16. Dec 31, 2011
    First off, It's a wonderful film. But the great films seem to make you think. You could take the film and state that it was rather "hallmark-ish", but you could also look at the brilliance in it. One of the most down to earth films in recent years, Brad Pitt shines along with the film's stunning cinematography. The only thing weak here is Fincher's decision to direct a film that totals to just way too long, and way too sulky. Though performance weight out substance here. Expand
  17. Sep 28, 2011
    First of all, they actually make Cate Blanchett look kinda hot in this movie with the heavy use of CGI, and I do not find Cate Blanchett hot. That is impressive.

    Ok, this is basically Forrest Gump but gloomier, less colorful, and more boring. The main character here is not retarded, but merely aging backwards. Instead of a bird's feather, there's a hummingbird. Instead of a girl named
    Jenny, it's a girl named Daisy. Instead of a son played by Haley Joel Osmont, it's a daughter played by Julia Ormond. And instead of Vietnam, it's World War II. I repeat, this is a more boring Forrest Gump.

    Now with that said, I still recommend this, because Forrest Gump was a hell of a picture. That movie made me cry quite a bit, this movie merely made my eyes tear up. It's incredibly shot, and of course the special effects are amazing. Brad Pitt looks like a freak for the first half, and Cate Blanchett gets turned into an 20 year old. It's long at 2 hours and 47 minutes, so be prepared for that.

    Oh yea... while it was enjoyable, this movie does not deserve to be nominated for Best Picture. It's completely crafted to be Oscar bait, but is nowhere near as good as something like The Dark Knight.
  18. Aug 28, 2011
    Benjamin Button is a great mixed bag of a film. Despite it's many problems (length, similarity to Forrest Gump), however, aren't its undoing. The undoing comes in the form of a distinct clash of ideas, inappropriately trying to mesh screenwriter Eric Roth's sentimental and wonderful view of the world with director David Fincher's cold nihilism and rewarding distance from connection. It is these two moods that tear apart Benjamin Button. Expand
  19. Aug 27, 2011
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. If THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON didn't take so long to watch, I would give it either a 9 or a 10. That's how good it really is. It asks (and, in a "curious" way, answers) some of life's biggest and most complex questions. This is Brad Pitt at his absolute best, and even though he's given credit for the role of Benjamin Button, he's only one of seven actors, and we see him as the titular character for about twenty minutes. Expand
  20. May 21, 2011
    This movie. I don't know where to begin. Its not just Forrest Gump without the personality. It may be impersonal but thats in part because of the extreme technical quality. I hated this movie the first time I saw it because I missed something and only saw how long it was and how it dragged in many places. Upon second look, I fell in love with it. It has so much charm and magic. Pitt acted his role with the perfect amount of humility to make him the character he needed to be. I suggest anybody who hated it the first time take a second look. Expand
  21. May 16, 2011
    the best film of 2008 hands down. brilliantly directed by david fincher, flawlessly acted especially by its lead actors - brad and cate, from its musical score to cinematography, production design, make up, and its incredibly outstanding visual effects what more could anyone ask for but to witness and enjoy this masterful film.
  22. May 11, 2011
    Dissappointing. This is one of those movies that pretends to be deep but just isnt. The whole plot just seems to be constructed for Brad Pitt to get younger and better looking as the movie progresses. However there is no reason for this other than to increase box office sales. Forest Gump did not need an unoffcial follow up.
  23. Apr 29, 2011
    Despite the fact that this movie was trumpeted upon it's release (two years already?) it's hard to ignore that Button hasn't got much to it. It was quite the opposite to what I thought it would be and it was a very slow and far too long for it's own good. More than anything else though, the movie did nothing but bore once you got past the basic premise, which is admittedly interesting.
  24. Apr 25, 2011
    The Curious Case of Benjamin Button is perfect in all ways. Never has a film made me so emotionally attached to the characters. This film is very much deserving of every little award it receives, and also the ones it didn't. The simplicity of a love stoy told in such perfection is outstanding. The directing, cinematography, acting, and every part else should have been nominated for an acedmy award. The story follows a person who was abandoned by his family, left to be cared by a nursing home. He was born, and he started to age- but backwards. A women named Queenie (Taraji P. Henson) takes him up and names him Benjamin. Once a little older, he meets a young girl named Daisy (Cate Blanchett). He falls in in love with her at first sight. Ands the life of Benjamin Button begins. The avast ray of characters through out the whole film impresses me a lot. I enjoyed meeting the new characters and how they affected Benjamin's life. They always brought warmth and happiness to the audience, telling them that someone is always there for you. The film begins and ends fantastically. It's like no other story ever told. Next, I move on to the acting. This is Brad Pitts best acting ever. Never has he known the character so well and portrayed him with so much emotion. He knows what he's doing as an actor now, and if he keeps this up, he's going to start rolling the Oscar gold in pretty soon. Cate Blanchett was well acted, although we didn't get as much screen time of herself than I would've liked. But that's because the story revolved around Benjamin, not Daisy. So I'm glad we did bet more Pitt than Blanchett. Next, I move on to the visual effects and make up. Basically I'm mentioning them because they played such a big role in this film. The makeup used to make Brad Pitt look older were spectacular. Especially when they used a smaller actor for the body and stuck Brad Pitt's head on top. Amazing. David Fincher's job as a director was spectacular, as well. Every scene he made, he took and changed it into a masterpiece. Never have I seen a movie this well directed. In the end, the message sent in the film, as it is quoted from the film, "We are meant to lose the people we love. How else would we know how important they are?"
  25. Dec 25, 2010
    The movie's long but they got numerous good scenes that they offer. The story of Benjamin Button getting younger in age is still like ageing to other people. I don't know if that's the point of the story though. I do know Benjamin getting younger adds conflict to the romance between him and his lover but that's about it. I'm still loving the love story of the main characters, although very depressing. Expand
  26. Nov 3, 2010
    Despite the fact that Brade Pit can't act, once more he gives a feeble attempt at an accent that is terrible. BUT, they keep him quiet most of the time and the movie works well. I loved this flick, really good in spite of Brad's inability to act. Kate is awesome as always and delivers a wonderful performance.. Well worth seeing.
  27. Oct 16, 2010
    Crafting a story like this is a feat that is rarely seen in cinema. There is a real chemistry between Pitt and Blanchett and this is coupled by a storyline which gripped me as soon as I had seen the trailer. The story never gets old, much the same as its protagonist.
  28. Oct 5, 2010
    David Fincher has transformed a strange plotline of a man who ages backwards into an epic love story, and it is the most touching and beautiful film I've ever seen. You forget the fictional storyline because the direction and storytelling is so flawless. It is a very different look on life, as they say in the film, "Sometimes to understand life you have to look at it backwards". The acting is superb, the make-up and effects flawless and the length of the film goes unnoticed until you look at your watch when the film is over. An absolute masterpiece, and the best film of 2008. Expand
  29. Oct 1, 2010
    Despite the fact that this movie was trumpeted upon it's release (two years already?) it's hard to ignore that Button hasn't got much to it. It was quite the opposite to what I thought it would be and it was a very slow and far too long for it's own good. More than anything else though, the movie did nothing but bore once you got past the basic premise, which is admittedly interesting.
  30. Sep 19, 2010
    Before I launch into the many negative things I have to write about this movie, I'm going to start with the positive elements of The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. First, it was cinematically stunning. Visually, it was breathtaking. The money spent on this movie was worth the eyes. Second...well, there isn't a second positive thing I can point out. That's right. I am so disappointed in this film that I am literally typing this minutes after leaving the theater.

    Where to begin...

    There are numerous small things that bothered me about the movie, but didn't necessarily HURT the film. It was entirely too long. And for the length, there was never enough to make me care about the characters. However, the main small component that bothered me is Brad Pitt's complete inability to act. Not that the script called for him to do much, other than look beautiful when he reached the right age, and he did that wonderfully. However, he had very little script with which recite, so when he did, it was mostly in soft-spoken mumbles. And he pulled it off just fine. However, if he gets nominated for an Oscar, I will officially boycott it. There is NOTHING Brad Pitt did in this movie for which he should be nominated. It's pathetic enough that he got a Golden Globe nomination. He did a fine job, but I can name double-digit numbers of performances that deserve recognition over this one.

    Those small things didn't destroy the film for me though.

    No, what I absolutely hated about this movie was...the script.

    The screenplay, based on a short story by F. Scott Fitzgerald, which I have not read but I hear is SO different than this movie that it was hard to even compare the two. The screenplay was written by Forrest Gump penner, Eric Roth. And how he got away with submitting this script proves that all Hollywood is interested in doing is rehashing popular movies or concepts from the past. And, like lambs to the slaughter, viewers are being sucked in.

    So let's compare the job Eric Roth did in Forrest Gump and the work he did with The Curious Case of Benjamin Button...

    Forrest Gump centers around the life story of a very a unique male character, complete with all the lessons learned therein. So does Benjamin Button. In both, that central male character narrates his own story.

    Forrest Gump has a very strong motherly character that has a very strong influence on the type of person he becomes. So does Benjamin Button. In fact, they both even have a mother-coined catch phrase repeated throughout the movie. In Forrest, "Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you're going to get." In Button, momma always said, "You never know what's coming for you."

    Forrest Gump had "Lieutenant Dan" on the SS Jenny. Benjamin had "Captain Mike" on the SS Chelsea.

    Forrest is in love with Jenny who enters, exits and re-enters his life on a regular basis. Benjamin is in love with Daisy who enters, exits and re-enters his life on a regular basis.

    Forrest becomes insecure and scared when he realizes he's about to be a father with Jenny. Benjamin becomes insecue and scared when he realizes he's about to be a father with Daisy.

    Forrest interacts with historical figures throughout his story and finds himself in wartime situations. Benjamin finds himself in wartime situations and crossing paths with seemingly historical figures, like the first woman to swim the English Channel and Daisy herself being the first American to be invited to dance with the Bolshoi.

    Lieutenant Dan talks about trying out his "sea legs" when Forrest asks him why he's on the boat. When Benjamin wants to join Captain Mike's boating crew, Captain Mike asks him if he has his sea legs.

    This one may sound like a stretch, but how often does a script call for a character to announce so blatantly that they need to go pee. Well, Forrest did unexpectedly while in a conversation with John F Kennedy, while Daisy unexpectedly announces to Benjamin in the middle of a conversation that SHE needs to go pee.

    A couple of times in Forrest Gump, a floating feather takes center-screen symbolically representing how we float through life and how things happen because they are meant to happen. A couple of times in Benjamin Button, a hummingbird unexpectedly takes center-screen to symbolically represent...well, you get the picture.

    I could go on, but I'm too disgusted to.

    It's plagiarism...or is it just Mad Libs with all the main subjects and names replaced with new ones?

    I'm sorry...a good movie starts with a good script. And if the SAME screenwriter writes essentially the SAME script from a previously popular movie, feeds it to me and thinks I'm simple enough to swallow it, I'm going to notice it. And it will remove any ability for me enjoy the film. No matter how many intentional heart-tugging moments this film tries toshove down our throats, I wasn't able to be affected by any emotion in the movie or connect with any of the characters.
  31. Aug 27, 2010
    The movie has its little pleasures (such as the man getting struck by lightning and the tugboat captain), but it feels like the "aging-backwards" basis is no more than a playful trick to tell an otherwise normal and uninteresting (and loooonng) story.

Generally favorable reviews - based on 37 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 26 out of 37
  2. Negative: 1 out of 37
  1. Reviewed by: David Ansen
    Lyrical, original, misshapen and deeply felt, this is one flawed beauty of a movie.
  2. Superbly made and winningly acted by Brad Pitt in his most impressive outing to date.
  3. Reviewed by: Todd McCarthy
    This odd, epic tale of a man who ages backwards is presented in an impeccable classical manner, every detail tended to with fastidious devotion.