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70

Generally favorable reviews - based on 37 Critics What's this?

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7.1

Generally favorable reviews- based on 479 Ratings

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  • Summary: “I was born under unusual circumstances.” And so begins The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, adapted from the 1920s story by F. Scott Fitzgerald about a man who is born in his eighties and ages backwards: a man, like any of us, who is unable to stop time. We follow his story, set in New“I was born under unusual circumstances.” And so begins The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, adapted from the 1920s story by F. Scott Fitzgerald about a man who is born in his eighties and ages backwards: a man, like any of us, who is unable to stop time. We follow his story, set in New Orleans from the end of World War I in 1918, into the 21st century, following his journey that is as unusual as any man’s life can be. Benjamin Button is a grand tale of a not-so-ordinary man and the people and places he discovers along the way, the loves he finds, the joys of life and the sadness of death, and what lasts beyond time. (Paramount Pictures) Expand
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 26 out of 37
  2. Negative: 1 out of 37
  1. Superbly made and winningly acted by Brad Pitt in his most impressive outing to date.
  2. Reviewed by: Ian Freer
    100
    Aptly for a film so concerned with time, Button is 13 minutes shy of three hours and just flies by. If this is Fincher selling out, can he sell out more often please?
  3. With his usual intelligence, technical virtuosity (the reverse-aging effects are astounding) and storytelling panache, director Fincher gives the film a power and unity that make nearly three hours go by in a flash and pulls its diverse elements together to be something unique for a Hollywood movie -- a true spiritual experience.
  4. Button has a wide-eyed innocence that almost never palls. It strays far from the mind of F. Scott Fitzgerald, but often enough it came near to my heart.
  5. Question: Is life still like a box of chocolates if you're going in reverse? The answer, in the case of the curiously Gumpian The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, is a gooey yes.
  6. 60
    It's so almost moving -- a meticulously crafted mechanical bird -- that it nearly feels like the real thing.
  7. The movie's excruciating length is without dramatic or thematic justification.

See all 37 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Negative: 49 out of 185
  1. SamS.
    Mar 6, 2009
    10
    Get ready to cry. This movie deserves more than a 70, proving that the "critics" are not always correct.
  2. JimL.
    Jan 1, 2009
    10
    Engaging, moving. Terrific soundtrack.
  3. Feb 11, 2014
    9
    As an elderly woman lies on her deathbed she recounts the peculiar story of Benjamin Button, a man whose life is inexplicably tied to aAs 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.
    Expand
  4. Sep 28, 2011
    7
    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.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.
    Expand
  5. elp
    May 31, 2009
    5
    Can't fault the art direction, cinematography, or the acting, but it's three hours of one depressing scenario after another. if Can't fault the art direction, cinematography, or the acting, but it's three hours of one depressing scenario after another. if there's anything to take away from it it's that everything is pointless and doomed to misery, not exactly a feel-good movie. Collapse
  6. DW
    May 17, 2009
    3
    3 for the tech. The plot, dialog, and acting deserve almost a zero. An interminable length for one Hallmark moment after another, punctuated 3 for the tech. The plot, dialog, and acting deserve almost a zero. An interminable length for one Hallmark moment after another, punctuated by annoying voiceover and a pointless wraparound story that dragged hurricane Katrina into it. And just awful attempts at "folksy" southern accents. Ick. Expand
  7. JulieD.
    Dec 26, 2008
    0
    This movie was so incredible boring. I experienced zero connection with the characters and couldn't care less what happened to them. I This movie was so incredible boring. I experienced zero connection with the characters and couldn't care less what happened to them. I just wanted the movie to end. Expand

See all 185 User Reviews

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