Film / Curious chemistry

 
 

They’ve shown their thespian talents before, but after this latest collaboration, Kimberley Foy is sure Pitt and Blanchett can only rival each other.

MORE FAMOUS OF LATE for his personal life than his professional career, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button is a welcome reminder of the fact that Brad Pitt still possesses some talent as a performer.

Taking the name and basic plot from the 1921 F Scott Fitzgerald short story of the same name, the film details the life of Benjamin Button (Pitt). In a strange twist, this character is born with the symptoms of very old age and instead of growing older, as with those around him, he finds himself getting younger in appearance. The practical consequences of aging backwards are brought to the fore here.

Director David Fincher is respectful and thoughtful in his delivery of Button’s story, and does not present a capricious depiction of these consequences. And with Cate Blanchett in tow providing typically excellent support to Pitt, the viewer’s attention is unlikely to waver at any point during The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.

“Director David Fincher is respectful and thoughtful in his delivery of Button’s story”

What may not be immediately obvious considering Button’s condition is the increasingly saddening question of his mortality. As Button and his major love interest, Daisy (Blanchett), live their respective lives, it becomes obvious that the relationship may not always be viable in the way that most long-term relationships are.

At only one short time period in this story are Daisy and Benjamin equal in age, maturity and youth. The knowledge that this cannot last is the apex of Benjamin Button’s emotional pull. As Daisy continues to possess the ability to live a normal life, you cannot help but feel truly sorry for Button, as he comes to accept the fact he can never grow old with the love of his life, and is very much alone in the world.

On paper this film’s premise is compelling enough, however the performances cement its brilliance. While Brad Pitt quietly demonstrates the bittersweet, fleeting nature of youth and beauty, Blanchett proves a more than capable match for him on-screen.

It’s arguable that the Australian actress enjoys chemistry with most of her leading men, and here she achieves the very same quality with Pitt. Unusually enough for a film’s supporting actor, she is just as compelling as its star, a phenomenon which Pitt may not be used to.

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