A curious film about a curious man

I was quite disappointed when I missed this film in the cinemas after hearing so much about it, so I was quite excited when I finally got around to renting it from Blockbuster the other day. With such an intriguing concept I had an inkling that I would enjoy it, but to honest I didn’t know quite what to expect especially with all the mixed reviews it has received. However 165 minutes later and I discovered that my inkling was infact correct, and I enjoyed it far more than I even expected.

Brilliantly directed by David Fincher - with his great eye for detail - and screenplay by Eric Roth, who also worked on Forrest Gump, this American fantasy drama is loosely based on the 1921 short story by F. Scott Fitzgerald. If you haven’t already seen it, then I won’t give too much of the extraordinary plot away, as I think it really should be experienced first hand. But just a brief outline, this is a tale of a curious man, Benjamin, born as a baby in a crippled, old mans body. His disgusted father abandons him on the steps of a stranger’s house, the warm and caring Queenie, who immediately and unquestionably takes him in to care for. The story follows Benjamins life, as he begins to age, but biologically grows younger. The entire thing is told through the narration of Benjamin’s diary, bestowed into the possession of his love, Daisy. Now, I can see why some people have complained at the length of the film; at over two and a half ours, it’s fairly long, a feature perhaps highlighted by the premise of the film itself being based on time. However I have to say that I didn’t want it to end.

Pervaded with life and death, love and loss, the film deals with these occurrences in an almost matter-of-fact way that somehow doesn’t make it any less emotional. Rich in humour, sorrow, heart-ache, and ultimately life, a film full of ironies that explores the process of aging and how old we are against how old we feel. The great anecdotes and twists in this curious tale are played fantastically by Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett, who play the lead characters Benjamin and Daisy. Pitt especially brings the shading to Benjamin’s character alive, to accompany the fantastic special effects and CGI to age the characters accordingly. Fincher focuses mainly on the face to express age, with great success. All things considered it is unsurprising that this film was nominated for a total of 13 Oscars. Overall I think I have figured out why this film has had such contrasting reviews; if you are looking for a point to film then you may not find it. However if you’re willing to just experience it, then it’s an epic. Moreover I suppose that for a film based on such a bizarre and unique premise, you might sort of expect a message that is a bit more out of the ordinary. But of course it doesn’t tell us anything more than we already know or have been told before, that we should discover life, love and what is really important to us, and make the most of it while we can in the short time that we are given. However for me this was perfect, in its elegant and imaginative depiction of love, life and the things that we lose. And while I can see how it may not be for everyone, I still absolutely recommend this film to you, and hope that you won’t be disappointed.

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