Good Storytelling & Benjamin Button

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Sep 112011

I finally had both the time and opportunity to watch the film “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.” At two and three-quarter hours in length it is a significant commitment. But, putting aside hectic schedules, it is a film that is well worth viewing.

For those unfamiliar, the character Benjamin Button is born old and reverse ages throughout his life. The film is loosely based on the short story by F. Scott Fitzgerald published in 1922. While there are many facets to the film that are endearing, one of the particularly good features is the use of a retirement home used for Benjamin’s upbringing. By doing that, the story’s setting avoided numerous likely hazards of human interaction and development that would otherwise likely hamper the suspension of disbelief necessary for the viewer to buy into the storyline. The use of the setting again towards the conclusion of the story helps bring the two main protagonists paths together again in full circle.

While there was a great deal about death and the loss of loved ones in the story, other than possibly those struck by lightening, the film didn’t treat that loss lightly. Rather, it spanned enough time so that the passing was woven in as a part of life. Further, while Benjamin’s case placed him in unusual circumstances and did set him apart from the usual progression of family life, there was enough integration into society and its culture for a full life to be had. Also, the unique arc of the story gives it that special something characteristic of good storytelling.

So, if one finds oneself with several hours of free time at a stretch, and are curious about how the filmmakers portray a life where a character ages backwards, “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” is a film that values the life lived, however unusual, while regularly reminding that it is but temporary.

 Posted by at 6:08 pm