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A CURIOUSITY AT BEST...
on October 7, 2009
I was somewhat ambivalent about watching this movie, but it had such a strong cast that I decided to give it a whirl. The central premise of this film is a fantastical one. A baby is born old, exhibiting all the indicia of very old age, but unlike those born with progeria, the baby, as it grows and develops, gets younger. While not a bad film, it is not a particularly good one either, despite all its bells and whistles. Sure it has lots of intriguing special effects, but the story somehow meanders about and falls flat. Though comparisons have been made to "Forrest Gump", this film pales in contrast, because "Forrest Gump" was a great film, and this one is not.
When Benjamin is born, his mother dies after giving birth to him. The grieving father, horrified by the wizened appearance of his new born son, takes him and abandons him on the steps of an old age home, where he is taken in by a woman who runs the home. In the wise, loving arms of his adopted mother, Benjamin grows into manhood. Surrounded by old people who accept him, after all, he physically mirrors them, life is good to Benjamin. There he also meets Daisy, the granddaughter of one of the residents, and is smitten. Even though they are close in age, she looks like the child she is, while he looks as if he could be her grandmother's husband. She will, however, always be the love of his life.
While they part and grow into adulthood, at one point they look almost the same age and before you know it, Benjamin and Daisy are joined at the hip. True love has blossomed and finally been made possible while they are in their forties, and it is great while it lasts. Alas, the inevitability of Benjamin's future looms forbiddingly, and there is simply no happy ending, only a very poignant one.
While there are many great performances in this film, and Cate Blanchett is positively luminous, Brad Pitt's performance is somewhat moribund. While a bit disappointing, his performance is not what does this film in. The film is done in by its own emotional torpor. There is simply not enough of an emotional connection to the viewer, causing this very lengthy film to drag and leaving the viewer to ask, "What was the point?". Therein lies the rub.