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Generally favorable reviews- based on 475 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 79 out of 475

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  1. 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.
  2. 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
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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
  8. 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
  9. 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.
  10. 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?"
  11. 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.
  12. 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

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.