Monday, March 2, 2009

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

Last night, we went to watch 'The Curious Case of Benjamin Button' on reverse ageing. Before the movie started, it said 'Paramount Pictures Presents', I remember seeing this many times, it always comes with a mountain in the back. However, this time, it came with buttons of different colors coming together and saying Paramount Pictures. I didn't really realise this, while I was watching..only later in the movie, when the protagonist, Benjamin's father tells him that he actually owns a buttons company that I understood that it was a clever move to show Paramout Pictures that way. Well, this also shows the extent of involvement the crew had in the film. The layers of make-up, the backdrop in scenes, the nuances in body language and the complex emotions told a tale, writenn by F Scott Fitzgerald in 1910s and this is the very story which film makers attempted to create on big screen some fifteen years back but could not do it. It seems that they understood the great challenge they faced. For it was a story of a man ageing reverse, while other characters ageing in a normal fashion.

The movie spans across 91 years, from 1918, when a kid was born with multiple catracts, with wrinkles all over. Doctors said that the kid's body is as worn out as that of a 90 year old man and he has very little life left. His mother dies in childbirth and his father leaves him in front of someone's house. A kind hearted lady, Queenie, sees the kid and may be because of her inability to conceive feels like bringing him up. So, it was a 90 year old man ageing backwards with all old people around. He felt though, his body is old, yet he is young.

When his mind is 7 years old and his body 83, he meets the love of his life Daisy, who says "you are not like an old person". At the age of 14/76, he takes up a job on a ship and leaves promising Daisy that he would send her a postcard from different parts of the world he would be visiting. Meanwhile, Daisy becomes a famous ballet dancer, she has a male partner too. Benjamin comes back. I think, here, the makers have taken bit of liberty as Daisy is shown to be in her prime, less than 25 years of age. By this logic, Benjamin should also be of 25 years, but should look like 65 years of age. However, he seemed to be a man of 50-55 years of age. Coming back to the main part, Benjamin meets Daisy and Daisy is still in love with him, but Benjamin does not really respond. Daisy tries to convince him, while her boy friend is waiting inches away near taxi. Years later, when Benjamin seems to be a 45 years old man, he goes to Paris to meet Daisy. This is the best part of the film, you would not feel you are watching a film, rather you would feel as if you are reading a story. The scene shows the importance of time in life as a man forgets to keep an alarm at 10 and wakes up at 10:05 am, a woman takes up a taxi while coming out of a showroom, a van comes in front of the taxi and the taxi gets late. In the due course, Daisy is getting ready to go somewhere out but she too gets late. The result of various people getting late is that the moment Daisy is walking past the road, the taxi comes and hits her. This happens while Benjamin is narrating it with sentences with so many 'ifs'. It shows that we can not comprehend the 'what ifs' in our life. Rarely that we come across such a brilliant adaptation of the novel. Am sure, Fitzgerald's heart would have come out with this scene. Daisy meets with an accident and her leg is fractured and she can never dance. Benjamin meets her, but she is in no mood of taking the relationship further and he returns to New Orleans.

Another few years went by and Benjamin is in early 40s, when Daisy comes to his New Orleans's house and they finally decide to live together. Daisy starts dance classes and Benjamin runs his company Buttons&Buttons, which he gets as a heir to his original father's property. Sometime later, Daisy gets pregnant and Benjamin realises that he can not grow older with his own daughter as he is reverse ageing. Daisy is hell bent as she thinks she has considered all these complexities, but is unable to stop Benjamin from leaving after their daughter's first birth day. Benjamin wanders around the world and realises the fun of being himself. Few years later, a young man in early 20s or late teens comes to Daisy's dance school, Daisy can not recognise him until he gets closer and Daisy sees his face. She introduces him as a family friend to her husband, whom she married as her daughter needed a father. The story finally ends with Benjamin becoming an infant and one day he says final good-bye in Daisy's laps.

Three character remain in the film remain all through, Benjamin, Daisy and Queenie and since its a story spannig across 90 years, the make up that the technicians have done to really make reasonably young actors play teen, youth, and old is really wonderful. The first half is completely taken over by technicians.

I have not mentioned several things, which are integral to the movie, as it would take me 3-4 blogs to cover those.

1 comment:

Chiranjit said...

I liked the scene the most " When the actress became old and they were walking down a garden path holding hands"... nice movie ....