When we went to see The Curious Case of Benjamin Button on Christmas Day we had an impossible to pin down problem with the film that prevented us from loving it. No, we weren’t like some critics who claimed that the CGI fest left them feeling cold. Or others who said it was way too long or a total rip-off of Forrest Gump (although that did make us wonder why most great American epics are set in the South…perhaps we enjoy watching normally capable actors struggle to avoid sounding like Foghorn Leghorn). Thankfully, Dan Kois from Vulture has finally given name to the previously impossible to identify slap in the face — the lack of the old-baby man.
“David Fincher delivers the old-man baby the trailer promised, but completely botches it in portraying the old-baby man that Brad Pitt should’ve become at the end of the movie…Instead of continuing the special-effects magic, Fincher just casts a 12-year-old who sort of looks like Brad Pitt, and then some baby with blondish hair. Which is, of course, a total cop-out. By the movie’s own logic, elderly Benjamin Button wouldn’t be a baby-size baby; after all, he wasn’t born an old-man-size old man! (Unlike, by the way, F. Scott Fitzgerald’s original short story, in which Benjamin is freakishly born full-size, bearded, and talking.) We were totally looking forward to seeing a creepy old-baby man crawling around. Could you imagine an elderly Cate Blanchett trying to rock and cuddle a five-foot-tall baby? It might have made the movie’s dead-baby ending bizarre and awesome instead of mawkish and manipulative!”
Sadly, ’tis true Fincher. You copped out. Kois points to budget issues as the reason you failed to deliver us the elder goods viewers were craving, but we’ve got to protest — how much could throwing a baby’s head on Leslie Jordan’s body cost?
Did anyone else feel robbed by the film’s Gerber Baby ending?