Benjamin Button: Will It Be as Moving as We All Think?

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button seems to have all the necessary components of an extremely “moving” movie. A director known for his scorching masterpieces about the human condition? Check. A screenwriter known for writing a movie that makes grown men cry? Check. A trailer that already has film geeks — and their mothers — eagerly awaiting a movie with impossible love and death and Oscars? Yup.

So how intense is it, really? David Fincher’s 1999 remark about making movies that “scar” is impossible to ignore when examining the film, and early reviews reveal the exceedingly high emotional expectations everyone seems to have for the upcoming Brad Pitt vehicle. But when one goes in expecting to be moved to tears, will they be? We’re big fans of Se7en (and the underrated yet mind-blowing The Game) but wonder whether or not we should even keep reading what others thought about its emotional merits before we judge for ourselves. If you’re interested, though, selections about where it stands on the emotive scale are excerpted after the jump.

Still, for what is designed as a rich tapestry, the picture maintains a slightly remote feel. No matter the power of the image of an old but young-looking Benjamin, slumped over a piano and depressed about his fading memory and life; it is possible that the picture might have been warmer and more emotionally accessible had it been shot on film. It has been argued that digital is a cold medium and celluloid a hot one and a case, however speculative, could be made that a story such as “Benjamin Button,” with its desired cumulative emotional impact, should be shot and screened on film to be fully realized. These are intangibles, but nor are they imaginary factors; what technology gives, it can also take away. [Variety]

It winds down on a note of melancholy that will break your heart (and make it, frankly, a slightly tougher sell than expected as a popcorn entertainment while winning it, undoubtedly, scores of awards supporters).

“Pitt’s Benjamin is a touching and poignant figure, a person often lost within his own life but with a comic spirit that allows him to accept his backward fate. Blanchett illuminates the screen with beauty and intelligence, making Benjamin’s pursuit of Daisy a quest for life as much as one for love.” [Hollywood Reporter]

The curious thing about Benjamin Button is the questionable profundity of this lengthy saga. Is it a meaningful parable about love and time or is it just a gigantic shaggy dog story?[Screen Daily]

“Watching Benjamin Button, occasionally I actively loathed it, but mostly I just felt genuinely disappointed that it seemed so lacking in genuine feeling.” [Spout]

See also: First Reviews of ‘Benjamin Button’ Indicate It’s a ‘Profound and Moving’ ‘Dud’ [NYMag]